Biden to meet Turkish officials to discuss Gülen case, anti-terror fight

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Turkey and the United States will hold high-level talks in Ankara on Aug. 24, as U.S. Vice President Joe Biden will arrive in the Turkish capital as the highest ranking Americanofficial to pay a visit to the NATO ally since the July 15 coup attempt.  Biden is set to meet President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım after visiting the Turkish parliament, where he will view the bombed parts of the parliamentary building along with Parliament Speaker İsmail Kahraman.
Biden’s visit comes as the relationship between Ankara and Washington has become complicated, with a number of points of disagreement between the two allies. The vice president’s visit will primarily address Turkey’s complaints that it had not received enough support from its top NATO ally, as Biden will repeat Washington’s support and solidarity to the Turkish people and democracy.
At a joint press conference with Yıldırım, Biden is likely to voice his administration’s support to the democratically-elected Turkish government.
Turkish officials and Biden will also discuss Ankara’s request of the extradition of Fethullah Gülen, head of the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ), as the leader of the July 15 coup attempt. Biden will likely recall that a technical delegation composed of officials from the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. State Department was dispatched to Ankara to work on the Turkish demand, without giving a concrete signal on what the U.S.’ likely decision would be.
Erdoğan earlier stated that he would deliver the disappointment of the Turkish government and the people over the Turkish demand to Washington, as Turkey had extradited a number of terrorists to the U.S. in the past without asking for evidence.
The fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and the need to stop the advance of Democratic Union Party (PYD) forces towards the eastern Euphrates will also be on the agenda. Turkey’s shelling of some PYD positions in the northern part of Manbij was seen as a very strong message from Ankara that it won’t allow the Syrian Kurds to open a corridor in northern Syria. Turkey sees the PYD as an offshoot of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and has called on the U.S. to end its cooperation with the group.
Biden paid his last visit to Turkey in January where he met some dissident intellectuals, journalists and activists. The last meeting between Erdoğan and Biden took place in late March in the U.S.

August/23/2016

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