By Michael Hernandez
WASHINGTON (AA) - The Biden administration hailed "constructive" relations with Türkiye on Wednesday as both nations' foreign ministers convened at the State Department.
"We have a very constructive relationship with Turkey. We are grateful for the role that Turkey has played in helping to address many of the most pressing challenges of our time," department spokesperson Ned Price told reporters.
Asked to enumerate which global challenges Ankara has been of particular assistance in addressing, Price pointed to Türkiye's key role in aiding Ukraine generally and its assistance in brokering a key deal that facilitated Ukrainian grain to leave Black Sea ports for the first time since Russia began its war.
"It is probably not an exaggeration to say that without Turkey's constructive role, we would not have the Black Sea Grain Initiative, certainly not the grain initiative that is functioning at the scope and scale that it is now," he said.
"That is now we've consistently said that we are grateful for Turkey's role in that we're also appreciative of the fact that President (Recep Tayyip) Erdogan and his government has used their somewhat unique position to seek to address Russia's war against Ukraine," he added, referring to the Turkish leader.
The comments come as Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets behind closed doors with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu as part of the Türkiye-US Strategic Mechanism. The mechanism was launched last April following a meeting between Erdogan and US President Joe Biden on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Rome.
Erdogan and Biden agreed then to establish the mechanism, which seeks to promote high-level dialogue and address issues on which Türkiye and the US do not fully agree, along with matters they are working on.
One day before Cavusoglu’s meeting, Turkish Deputy Foreign Minister Sedat Onal and US Under Secretary of State Victoria Nuland held talks within the framework of the mechanism.
Cavusoglu and Blinken held meetings last year on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York and a NATO summit in Romania, but this is Cavusoglu’s first official visit to Washington.