Secretary Blinken’s Meeting with Turkish Foreign Minister Fidan

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March 9, 2024

The below is attributable to Spokesperson Matthew Miller:

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken met yesterday in Washington with Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan.  Secretary Blinken and Foreign Minister Fidan discussed U.S.-Türkiye cooperation regarding Syria, the South Caucasus, and achieving a lasting peace in the Middle East.  The Secretary and Foreign Minister agreed to enhance trade and investment between the United States and Türkiye and reaffirmed that, notwithstanding Russia’s illegal full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the Black Sea region must remain safe and secure.  They also recognized the 75th anniversary of the U.S.-Türkiye Fulbright program and welcomed the accession of Sweden as the 32nd NATO Ally.  Their meeting capped two days of senior-level bilateral discussions held under the auspices of the U.S.-Türkiye Strategic Mechanism.


Secretary Antony J. Blinken And Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan Before Their Meeting




SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Well, good morning, everyone.  It’s a pleasure to welcome Foreign Minister Fidan, my friend Hakan, here to the State Department, to Washington, and all of our colleagues.  The United States and Türkiye are very close and critical allies at a time when we have many challenges on our plate together.  But we are facing them together, and that makes all the difference.

Yesterday I had the honor of welcoming – formally welcoming Sweden into our Alliance, our shared Alliance – the 32nd NATO Ally.  And I again want to thank the foreign minister, thank President Erdogan, thank Türkiye for the very good and important work that was done to bring us to the point of welcoming Sweden into the Alliance.

We’re very focused together on Alliance issues – of course, on the ongoing Russian aggression in Ukraine, where Türkiye has been playing a critical role in supporting Ukraine in a whole variety of ways that we’ll talk about today.  And of course, we’re intensely focused on the Middle East and the conflict in Gaza, the strong, shared desire to minimize and end the suffering of innocent women, children, and men who are caught in the crossfire.

With the greater provision humanitarian assistance we – the President announced last night, a maritime initiative, which will be critical – but we know as well that it is absolutely essentially not only to maintain but to expand the land crossings into Gaza.  That’s the primary vehicle through which we will get assistance to those who need it, as well as air drops and other methods that we’re using.  But also once within Gaza, the assistance has to be distributed more effectively to people who need it.

And in this moment, in this hour, we’re also intensely focused on seeing if we can get a ceasefire with the release of hostages, the expansion of humanitarian assistance, and an environment for working on an enduring resolution.  And there, the issue is Hamas.  The issue is whether Hamas will decide or not to have a ceasefire that would benefit everyone.  The ball is in their court, we’re working intensely on it, and we’ll see what – we’ll see what they do.  But there’s no doubt in my mind that getting to this ceasefire with the release of hostages would be a profound benefit to everyone involved.

With that, Hakan, welcome.  The floor is yours.

FOREIGN MINISTER FIDAN:  Well, thank you, Tony.  I’d like to start by thanking to Secretary Blinken and his team for the very warm hospitality that they extended to myself and to my delegation.

And we are here today to hold our seventh Strategic Mechanism meeting, which was established by President Biden and President Erdogan back in 2021.  And our teams yesterday had an extensive discussions on a wide range of topics, ranging from security, regional cooperation, regional issues, trade, energy, and other issues.

For the last couple months – this is my third meeting that I am meeting with Tony, because the developments, Euro-political developments and regional developments, dictate our close cooperation and work – especially, as he stated in his opening remarks, the dire situation in Gaza requires our urgent attention as international community to stop the suffering of the innocent people.  And they need immediate humanitarian assistance.  So that’s why, I mean, we need to work hard together to make sure that the – we have a ceasefire and we have unhindered humanitarian assistance inside Gaza.

And there are other – a number of regional issues as well: Ukraine; the Black Sea security, one of the key issues that we discussed.  And we’ve been also discussing about some key NATO issues, primarily the membership of new states that we have successfully managed to finalize the process.  Again, we have a lot of important issues on our table to discuss today, and I am once again very happy to be here with my delegation, and I once again thank Tony and his team for their hospitality.

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Thank you very much.  Thanks, everyone.

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