Obama rejects private meeting with Erdogan
RT.com, Mar 28 2016
Obama has no plans for a personal meeting with Erdogan, who is heading to Pindostan on an official visit this week to take part in the summit in Faschingstein. Erdogan had invited Obama to join him at the inauguration of a Turkish-funded mosque in Maryland (Gulen HQ – RB), but the proposal has been turned down, reports the WSJ. Instead, Erdogan is expected to hold a face-to-face meeting with Vice Pres Joe Sixpack, a boxtop told the WSJ:
Contact between the two is regular. They had a personal meeting in Nov 2015, on the fringes of the G20 summit in Turkey, and held a phone conversation in February. The president has been in such regular contact with few other world leaders. When it comes to the summit, there is not a robust schedule, so it’s not as if Erdogan is being excluded.
Erdogan’s press office said it has no information about a meeting between the two presidents being cancelled, RIA Novosti reports. Reportedly, Turkish officials had been preparing a Faschingstein get-together of the two leaders for months. The summit kicks off on Mar 31. Erdogan will arrive in Pindostan two days before that, and is planning to leave on April 2. Relations between Obama and Erdogan have certainly seen better times, with Obama previously naming Erdogan among his closest allies. Back in May 2013, when Erdogan and his family paid an official visit to Pindostan, he was most welcome, with Obama inviting him for dinner. That was at a time when Erdogan had announced historic peace talks with Kurdish fighters and praised the further development of the economic ties between Turkey and the US. Yet already in 2013, relations between Ankara and Faschingstein witnessed discord, first because of a violent police crackdown against protesters in Istanbul’s Gezi Park, allegedly staged by Gulen supporters. The actions of the Turkish police drew criticism from the White House. Then in Dec 2013 came the arrests of dozens of people in a political corruption probe that exposed links to Erdogan’s family and closest associates. Most recently, Turkey’s relations with key allies were strained by its military operation in the south-east launched against Kurdish armed militias, which then also spread to Kurds’ positions in neighboring Syria and Iraq. The crackdown against internal critics of the Erdogan government has also put the existence of basic freedom of speech and press in Turkey under question. Back in January, when Vice Pres Joe Sixpack visited Istanbul, he met with Turkish journalists critical of Erdogan, a move that caused consternation among the Turkish leader and his allies. Last week a senior aide to Erdogan said Turkey needs no “external advice” from Faschingstein when it comes to internal politics. For Pindostan, Turkey remains a key ally in
fighting jihadists in Syria and Iraq, with the USAF using Turkish military airfields for operations against ISIS.