Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan heads to the United States for only the second visit of his presidency at a time when relations between the two key Nato allies are severely tested by widening d
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan heads to the United States for only the second visit of his presidency at a time when relations between the two key Nato allies are severely tested by widening differences over the Syria conflict and human rights.
Erdogan, who became President in August 2014 after over a decade as Premier, has yet to hold talks with President Barack Obama at the White House as head of state, and no such encounter is planned for this trip in a glaring symbol of the current troubles in relations.
Turkish officials insist the main point of Erdogan’s trip is to attend the March 31-April 1 Nuclear Security Summit in Washington and also open a vast Ottoman-style mosque in Maryland, a new statement of Turkey’s desire to spread its cultural and religious influence abroad.
The White House said on Monday there were no plans for bilateral talks between Mr Obama and Mr Erdogan, who last visited the US for the UN General Assembly in September 2014.
Leaving for Washington Tuesday from Istanbul airport, Mr Erdogan said he would meet Mr Obama on the sidelines of the nuclear summit but indicated it was still open what form the encounter should take.
Meanwhile, Turkey summoned Germany’s ambassador to protest a two-minute song lampooning Mr Erdogan that was broadcast on German television, a diplomatic source said on Tuesday.
“We summoned the ambassador last week to communicate our protest about the broadcast that we condemned,” the source said, speaking on condition of anonymity. “We demanded that the broadcast is removed from the air.”
German regional television NDR on March 17 broadcast the sardonic song — “Erdowie, Erdowo, Erdogan” — ridiculing the Turkish President.