Erdogan to meet Biden in Washington for defense and trade talks

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will visit Washington on May 9 to discuss boosting defense and trade ties with U.S. President Joe Biden, Bloomberg reported on April 26.

The visit comes at a crucial juncture, with concerns looming over escalating tensions in the Middle East, highlighted by the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict in Gaza and recent airstrikes between Tel Aviv and Tehran.

Both leaders face significant challenges domestically. Biden gears up for a potential rematch with his 2020 rival, former President Donald Trump, in November's elections. Meanwhile, Erdogan, at the helm of Türkiye since 2003, grapples with setbacks following his party's defeat in last year's municipal elections, signaling a shift in public sentiment.

Erdogan, however, continues to play a prominent role on the international stage. Last weekend, he met with the political leader of Hamas to discuss a potential ceasefire and the acceleration of humanitarian aid to Gaza. Unlike the US and the European Union, Ankara doesn’t consider Hamas a terrorist organization.

On April 14, Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) representative, Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari, said that Iran launched approximately 170 drones and more than 150 cruise and ballistic missiles, carrying 60 tons of explosives, into Israel in a five-hour overnight mass attack on April 13.

The Israeli Air Force and its “partners” intercepted 99% of the Iranian weapons, according to the IDF.

Two U.S. officials familiar with the situation told CNN that U.S. forces were also involved in repelling the attack, intercepting “more than 70 one-way attack drones and at least three ballistic missiles.”

The United Kingdom and France also assisted Tel Aviv in countering the unprecedented attack.

On April 14, U.S. President Joe Biden made it clear to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the United States will not participate in offensive operations against Iran.

On the same day, Iranian state media reported the suspension of all flights in several major airports, including the capital's Imam Khomeini International, in response to possible retaliation attack from Israel.

On April 18, Israel carried out a strike inside Iran. Iran’s air defense systems were activated in several locations after explosions were heard close to the airport and an army base in the province of Isfahan.

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