On his first day in Washington, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim – who will be meeting with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday, November 9, to discuss a variety of critical issues – met with a group of think tank leaders at an off-the-record roundtable luncheon organized by Turkish Heritage Organization (THO).
In his opening remarks, Turkish Ambassador Serdar Kilic emphasized the existing challenges in U.S.-Turkey relations and the need to overcome them. Echoing Ambassador Kilic, THO’s President Ali Cinar urged both sides to embrace and build on shared values and relationships, especially at such critical times when both sides need greater cooperation to resolve their differences.
Moderated by THO’s President Ali Cinar, the Prime Minister took questions from an audience that included prominent scholars and experts, former high-level diplomats, and former elected officials. In addition to the recent visa crisis, questions mainly focused on Turkey’s domestic and regional issues – particularly developments in Syria and Iraq.
Prime Minister Yildirim stated that the Fethullah Gulen Terror Organization (FETO) – which was responsible for the 2016 coup attempt – and the U.S.’ support for the YPG are the two critical issues at stake in the U.S.-Turkey relationship. " I hope that my meeting with Vice President Mike Pence will open a new page to understand each other better,” said the Prime Minister.
Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, who is visiting Washington for the first time under the Trump administration, is being accompanied by Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and Energy and Natural Resources Minister Berat Albayrak, who were also present at the roundtable luncheon.