Heavy diplomatic traffic ahead for Erdoğan

Published 03.06.2019 00:04

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is expected to be busy with diplomacy traffic following the Istanbul metropolitan municipality elections that are scheduled to be held on June 23, with summits and bilateral meetings on the way.

The president will take his first official trip after the elections on June 28-29 to Japan's Osaka province to attend the G20 summit. Erdoğan is expected to meet with the U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, among others, at the summit. The main agenda of the meetings is expected to be the developments regarding the S-400 issue and the establishment of a joint working group.

Tensions between the U.S. and Turkey have reached a fever pitch in recent months with Turkey set to begin receiving the advanced S-400 Russian surface-to-air missile system which Washington said will jeopardize Turkey's role in the U.S. F-35 fighter jet program and could trigger congressional sanctions.

Erdoğan and other Turkish officials had repeatedly offered to form a joint technical study group to make sure the S-400 systems would not pose a threat to F-35 fighter jets or NATO systems, an argument the U.S. has used to criticize Turkey's deal with Russia. The Middle East Eye reported last week that Trump has agreed to form a joint working group with Turkey on the issue.

Other than the S-400, Erdoğan is also expected to discuss with Trump the improvement of economic ties, developments in Syria, the Eastern Mediterranean and fights against terrorism. Trump's planned visit to Turkey in July is also expected to be talked about during the meeting.

Following the summit, President Erdoğan will head to Tokyo and have a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. He is also expected to meet with the new emperor of the country Naruhito. Erdoğan also expected to visit the Ara Güler exhibition in Japan's Kyoto, which is being organized by the Turkish presidency.

After Japan, Erdoğan is expected to make a working visit to China. On July 2, Erdoğan will have a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping. During the meetings in China, discussions regarding steps to improve the economic ties between the two, works that will decrease the imbalance within the bilateral trading volume and possible joint projects that can be handled within the scope of Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) will be discussed. The multi-billion-dollar project was launched by President Xi Jinping in 2013 to jointly build the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road and connect China to Central Asia and Europe, an area spanning more than 65 countries.

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