U.S. Undersecretary for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland held talks with senior Turkish officials in the capital Ankara on Monday to discuss Ukraine and to launch a strategic mechanism to strengthen bilateral ties.
Nuland held discussions with a delegation led by Turkish Deputy Foreign Minister Sedat Önal and Ibrahim Kalın, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s chief foreign policy adviser and spokesman.
The two governments launched the mechanism to honour a commitment made by President Joe Biden and Erdoğan during a meeting in Rome in October last year, the State Department said.
The United States is seeking to strengthen ties with Turkey strained by the latter’s decision to buy Russian S-400 air defence missiles in 2019, which resulted in its exclusion from the F-35 fighter programme, and differences over policies in Syria and towards Greece. Nuland’s trip is the second in a month by a senior U.S. official after Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman visited Ankara in early March.
The officials reviewed “topics of mutual interest, including economic and defence cooperation, counterterrorism, and key areas of shared regional and global interest,” the State Department said. “They reiterated their shared commitment to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine. The United States welcomed Turkey’s efforts to facilitate a just, negotiated diplomatic solution to end the war.”
U.S. Department of Commerce Undersecretary Marisa Lago is visiting Turkey on Tuesday and Wednesday to advance the economic and trade cooperation goals of the strategic mechanism, the State Department said.
“The United States and Turkey look forward to a ministerial-level meeting within the framework of the Strategic Mechanism later in 2022,” it said.
Nuland was due to visit Greece, Cyprus and Germany following her visit to Ankara. Her delegation also included Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defence for International Security Affairs Ilan Goldenberg, and Deputy Assistant Secretaries Erika Olson, Karen Sasahara and Jennifer Gavito.