Erdogan to Attend UN General Assembly Amid Tensions With US

(Bloomberg) — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is traveling to New York to attend the UN General Assembly amid heightened tensions with Washington over Syria and Russia.

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Erdogan is expected to arrive in New York on Sunday, just a day after Turkey rebuffed US allegations of enlisting child soldiers in the ranks of Turkey-backed rebels in Syria, and as Washington prepares to impose sanctions on five Turkish companies and a Turkish individual for helping Russia evade sanctions, according to Reuters.

Turkey is coming under increasing pressure from the EU and the US to join their campaign to punish Russia for its invasion of Ukraine. While implementing binding United Nations penalties, Turkey is refusing to join any other sanctions efforts on grounds that could complicate its self-declared mediation efforts between Kyiv and Moscow.

Tensions with the US come at a time when Turkey is seeking to heal strained ties with Washington in the hopes of securing US President Joe Biden’s backing to purchase F-16 warplanes and upgrade kits for its existing fleet and attract foreign investment in Turkey’s embattled economy.

Read more: World Disappointed by the UN Now Looks Elsewhere for Answers

At the G-20 summit in New Delhi last week, Erdogan expressed disappointment over a US demand that Turkey’s approval of Sweden’s entry into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization is a prerequisite for agreeing to sell F-16 warplanes to Ankara, a point made by Biden during a side meeting with the Turkish leader.

Turkey’s Finance Minister Mehmet Simsek, who is accompanying Erdogan to New York City for the UN meetings, is scheduled to address US investors on Tuesday.

While realizing that trying to revive Turkey’s stalled membership talks with the EU is key to lure investments in the country, Erdogan on Sunday said Turkey could “part ways” in the wake of a non-binding report published by the bloc last week that criticized its democratic shortcomings.

In New York, Erdogan is expected to meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis to advance nascent thaws with both Mediterranean neighbors as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine triggered a geopolitical shift in the region by disrupting supply chains and commodity markets.

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