Turkish, US Presidents Meet in Chicago

Image Turkish President Abdullah Gul and his US counterpart, Barack Obama, met in Chicago on Monday on the sidelines of NATO Summit but they failed to make progress on the sale of armed drones. Turkey seeks to buy armed drones from the United States, but the request has been controversial, with some in Congress refusing to sell the aircraft to Turkey given Ankara's deteriorating relations with Israel, a close US ally. The US administration, on the other hand, is reportedly willing to sell the drones to Turkey and is trying to persuade Congress not to block the sale.

Gul reportedly told Obama during the meeting that Turkey expects US to meet its needs in its struggle against terrorism. Diplomatic sources said Gul informed that the presidents could not make progress on the sale of American drones to Turkey.

The sources said Obama told Gul he understands Turkey's need in the sale of the drones and that it is also among the agenda items of his administration but 'this is not something I can deal with alone.' 'There is Congress,' Obama reportedly told Gul, referring to the high possibility that the Congress will block the sales. Gul also told Obama that addressing Turkey's needs in its struggle against terrorism will contribute to the consolidation of US relations with Turkey.

Obama replied that he absolutely agrees with the assessment of President Gul. Debate over the planned sale has heated up lately after a US report claimed that US drones providing intelligence on movements of the terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) across the Turkish-Iraqi border provided the first intelligence to Turkish officials about a group of Kurdish villagers who were smuggling goods from Iraq into Turkey. The US drones, according to the report published in the Wall Street Journal, alerted the Turkish authorities about the group. The villagers were thought to be PKK terrorists and attacked by Turkish warplanes, killing 34 people. Gul told a group of journalists ahead of his talks that the proposed sale is to come up at the meeting. He argued that "if the sale of reapers is sensitive," that should be the same for F-35 jet fighter which are even "more dangerous." US accepted to share F-35 technology with Turkey. Today's Zaman
Last modified onSaturday, 06 May 2017 10:07