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ANKARA: Turkiye’s foreign minister will visit the US on March 7-8 for talks on the Gaza and Ukraine wars and defence and energy, a Turkish diplomatic source said on Tuesday, as relations warm following a warplane deal and cooperation on NATO diplomacy.

Ties between the NATO allies have been strained for years by issues ranging from Turkiye’s purchase of Russian S-400 missile defence systems to US support for a Kurdish militia in Syria regarded by Ankara as a terrorist group.

However, the sale of US F-16 fighter jets to Turkiye after Ankara’s ratification of Sweden’s NATO accession has brought positive momentum to their ties.

During Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan’s visit, at the invitation of US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, they will hold a meeting of the “strategic mechanism” that the two countries’ leaders decided to establish in 2021 with a focus on bilateral cooperation, the source said.

Turkiye receives US draft letters approving F-16 jets deal

Fidan is also expected to hold talks with White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan.

The source said that lifting sanctions on Turkiye’s defence industry, the sale of F-16 fighter jets and the Black Sea grain deal will be discussed during Fidan’s visit, as well as the Ukraine and Gaza conflicts.

“He will express the need to stop Israel’s massacre in Gaza, achieve an immediate and complete ceasefire in Gaza and take action for a two-state solution in accordance with international parameters,” the source said.

The US Senate last week defeated an effort to stop the $23 billion sale of F-16 fighter jets and modernization kits to Turkiye, which President Joe Biden’s administration approved after Turkiye assented to Sweden’s joining the NATO alliance.

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