President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will meet top U.S. executives at the Presidential Palace in Ankara today. According to presidential sources, more than 30 executives of U.S. companies, including Google and Microsoft, operating in information technologies, food and other sectors will attend the meeting.
President Erdoğan and the executives are expected to discuss U.S.-Turkey ties and recent economic developments at the meeting.
In 2017, the total volume of bilateral trade between Turkey and U.S. reached $19.1 billion. While Turkey exported goods worth $9.4 billion, the country imported goods worth $9.7 billion. By the end of July this year, the total bilateral trade volume was recorded at $11.8 billion, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
According to the Trade Ministry, some 1,824 U.S. companies currently operate in Turkey. The U.S. is also the second largest foreign direct investor in Turkey, the ministry's data showed. From 2002 to April 2018, the amount of FDI from the U.S. totaled around $11.4 billion, corresponding to 7.6 percent of the total FDI in Turkey. However, Turkey-U.S. ties have soured over the last couple of years due to the U.S. support for terror groups that pose a national security threat for Turkey.
The U.S. military support for the PKK-affiliated People's Protection Units (YPG) in Syria, and its failure to extradite Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) leader Fetullah Gülen, who is in a self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania, have damaged the ties between two NATO allies. FETÖ staged the July 15, 2016, coup attempt in Turkey.
Meanwhile, the detention of pastor Andrew Brunson, who is under house arrest in İzmir, due to his alleged links with FETÖ and the PKK and U.S. President Donald Trump insistence on his immediate release have also exacerbated the tension in bilateral relations.
Trump further heightened the tension by sanctioning two Turkish ministers in August and doubling the tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminum imports. He has also openly targeted the Turkish economy and currency - the Turkish lira, which has devalued over 40 percent since the beginning of this year.