Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak's visit to the United States had historical moments and will definitely have significant positive consequences. Albayrak met with U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday, which is a unique meeting since the talks are usually held between presidents or ministers. It is the first time that a U.S. president welcomed a Turkish minister alone.
Albayrak said Trump took a reasonable stance regarding Turkey's planned purchase of the Russian S-400 air defense missile system. He added that, "Trump listened in a very reasonable way with a positive understanding to the process regarding Turkey's needs for the S-400s; there was a very positive, constructive conversation."
The treasury and finance minister first had a meeting at the White House with Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchin and Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross on how to reach the target set by the two countries' presidents to reach $75 billion in trade volume. After that meeting, he met with Trump where he was accompanied by White House adviser Jared Kushner as well.
Following his talks, Albayrak continued his meetings with his interlocutors on how to increase the trade volume in different sectors.
There are a series of differences between the two countries' stances over a variety of issues, but this visit had a remarkable effect in finding the right dialogue and putting relations on the correct track again. The picture of Trump and Albayrak is a very important picture for the future of Turkey-U.S. relations. It shows that the dialogue is constructive and positive. It shows that Trump considers Turkey a good ally and also that he gives special importance to the relations between him and his counterpart, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Of course there are existing strains in bilateral relations, but these strains should not inhibit us from looking to a more positive future. The S-400 issue has always been put as one of the most difficult issues in front of the partnership; however, Turkey has made its position clear: It is an important and strong NATO member and does not have any intention of changing this position, but that doesn't prevent Ankara from making independent choices according to its national interests. Turkey is leading a wide range foreign policy perspectives and keeps good relations with Russia as well as with the U.S. and the EU.
The S-400 should be considered in this context, and I believe that Albayrak made this point clear to Trump during their meeting. It is very important to cherish the dialogue. The U.S. and Turkey have always been good partners, and it is in both of their advantages to keep it that way. In order to do that the U.S. should recognize the strength of Ankara and its foreign policy perspective.
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