Biden’s visit to Turkey sign of good relations: US


The State Department said Wednesday that Vice President Joe Biden’s visit was a sign of how strongly the U.S. views its relationship with Turkey.

The agency rejected notions the trip is an effort to resolve a “dispute” between Ankara and Washington.

“The vice president’s visit is a huge nod to the importance that we view that Turkey has, not only as an ally within NATO, our bilateral ties, but the importance of Turkey in the fight against Daesh,” State Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau said during a press briefing.

“I would dispute that there’s a relationship that needs to be rebuilt. Our tie, our alliance through NATO with Turkey is very strong.”

Biden visited Ankara on Wednesday for a one-day trip in which he met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim and the Speaker of the Turkish Parliament Ismail Kahraman. He also toured the parliament building that was bombed twice during the failed coup attempt July 15.

Trudeau was also asked whether the extradition treaty signed in 1979 between Ankara and Washington banned U.S.-based Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) leader Fetullah Gulen from leaving the U.S. following Turkey’s extradition request.

She said it was not a “standard” of the treaty but might take place in some cases.

Gulen is the mastermind behind the failed putsch attempt, according to Turkish authorities. Turkey requested his extradition from the U.S. more than one month ago to face trial. Currently, a team of American and Turkish legal experts are evaluating the material Turkey has provided for the request.

Meanwhile, Trudeau reiterated that Kurdish leadership within the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) has made a commitment to U.S. that local fighters — Syrian Arabs — would retake control of cities in northern Syria once they are liberated from Daesh.

Ankara considers the terrorist PKK’s Syrian wing, PYD — part of the SDF — as a terrorist organization and does not want the group’s presence on the west of the Euphrates river.