US Vice President Biden to Visit Turkey, Greece in December

Image US Vice President Joe Biden will visit debt-riddled Greece and Turkey, a vital American ally in the Middle East, on a major overseas trip in early December, the White House said on Monday. The White House statement didn't provide many details of Biden's exact itinerary, yet briefly said Biden will visit Ankara to discuss the “important partnership” with Turkey.

In İstanbul, Biden will take part in a global entrepreneurship summit, a follow-on event from one hosted by President Barack Obama in April 2010 to connect US business interests and foundations with the Muslim world.

Obama has spent considerable political capital in fostering better relations between Washington and Turkey, which the United States sees as a crucial player in the Middle East and the wider region, including Afghanistan and the Gulf.

Washington has watched with concern as Turkey's once-friendly ties with Israel deteriorated rapidly over Israel's 2010 killing of nine Turkish activists aboard a Gaza-bound aid convoy. The crisis has underscored Israel's growing isolation and the new limits of US influence in the Middle East.

Obama raised the issue in talks with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in New York on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly last month.

“The president emphasized his interest in seeing a resolution of the issues between those two countries and encouraged them to continue working toward that end,” White House advisor Liz Sherwood-Randall told reporters after the meeting, saying Obama also underscored the need to calm tensions throughout the region.

Following the meeting with Obama, Erdoğan voiced a variety of common interests such as their two countries' determination to fight the terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and Turkey's decision to coordinate sanctions against Syria with the US, which emerged as the two leading outcomes of their meeting in New York.

“Many Obama advisors see Erdoğan's government, with its pro-business bent and tolerance for secular expression, as a possible model for others in the Middle East. The president has logged more phone calls to Erdoğan than to any world leader except British Prime Minister David Cameron,” an article in The Los Angeles Times said on Monday.

“Yet Erdoğan's mercurial temperament and propensity for rhetorical threats makes dealing with him an awkward challenge,” the article, titled “Turkish Prime Minister Erdoğan poses challenge for Obama,” added, however. Today's Zaman
Last modified onSaturday, 06 May 2017 10:07