HomeTravelSenior US diplomat to travel to Türkiye, Greece | Local News

Senior US diplomat to travel to Türkiye, Greece | Local News


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A senior US diplomat will travel to Türkiye and Greece to discuss “security cooperation, defense trade and shared security challenges” with senior civilian and military officials, the State Department said Thursday.

Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs Jessica Lewis will travel to Ankara and Istanbul on April 4-6, where she will meet with senior officials to “build on the recent U.S.-Türkiye Strategic Mechanism,” the department said in a statement.

“Assistant Secretary Lewis will also tour a Turkish munitions plant and meet with international defense industry representatives to stress the urgent need for enhancing the Alliance’s defense capabilities,” the statement said.

The visit comes after Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met at the State Department last month under the framework of the Türkiye-US Strategic Dialogue Mechanism.

According to a joint statement released after three days of high-level discussions between senior Turkish and US officials at the State Department, Blinken and Fidan “reiterated their commitment to a results-oriented, forward-looking, positive bilateral agenda that advances shared objectives and addresses emerging global challenges.”

Among the wide range of issues were regional priorities, counterterrorism, defense cooperation, economic growth, trade and energy security.

Relations between Ankara and Washington have been strained in recent years due to several disagreements including the US support for the YPG in Syria, which Ankara sees as an extension of the PKK terror group, and Türkiye’s purchase of Russia’s S-400 air defense system, which led to Türkiye’s removal from the F-35 program and sanctions by Washington on Ankara.

The US Congress’ approval of the long-stalled sale of F-16 fighter jets to Türkiye in February, which came shortly after the Turkish parliament’s ratification of Sweden’s NATO membership, has been seen as a positive development by both sides as the two NATO allies expressed the desire for a “results-oriented, forward-looking, positive bilateral agenda.”

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan described the recent steps between Türkiye and the US as “some positive developments.”

US Ambassador to Türkiye Jeff Flake wrote in an article for Deseret News that the approval of the sale of F-16 jets signals “a commitment by both countries that a strong bilateral relationship is in our collective self-interest.”

Assistant Secretary Lewis will be in Athens from April 6-9 to hold consultations with senior defense and foreign ministry officials on Greece’s military modernization priorities, including the purchase of “US defense articles” and cooperation on security issues such as assistance to Ukraine as well as maritime cooperation, according to the State Department.

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