Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visits the White House for talks Wednesday with U.S. President Donald Trump, with the two leaders likely to discuss Turkey's incursion in northern Syria and its purchase of a Russian air defense system.
The agenda for the day released by the White House also includes an afternoon joint news conference.
The United States and other NATO allies have expressed concern about Turkey's purchase of the Russian S-400 missile system, saying they do not fit with the alliances defense systems and pose a threat to the U.S. F-35 fighter jet program.
In response, the United States has suspended Turkey's involvement with the F-35.
A senior U.S. official, who spoke to reporters ahead of Erdogan's visit, said the issue of the missile system is one that Trump "is trying to address head-on" in the talks with Turkey.
"As he's outlined publicly, there's tremendous upside in this bilateral relationship in economic terms, a key part of which is the F-35 and Turkey's role and potential role in the F-35 program. But to get there, we, as allies, need to resolve this issue of the S-400," the official said.
Erdogan spokesman Fahrettin Altun said on Twitter that Turkey has been clear about its reasoning for purchasing the Russian missiles.
"Turkey™s need for a missile defense system is urgent. The U.S. must recognize this to prevent the issue from becoming a thorn in our relations. Turkey™s participation in the F-35 program is crucial for our defense partnership," Altun wrote.
A senior U.S. official said another of Trump's priorities would be the situation in Syria where the United States is chiefly concerned about a potential resurgence of the Islamic State group as well as preventing "humanitarian atrocities against religious and ethnic minorities."
Trump also planned to discuss human rights issues within Turkey as well.
Source : VOA