Vice President Mike Pence has expressed a “deep concern” during a meeting with Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim over the arrest of American nationals and employees of diplomatic missions, journalists as well as civil society members.
“The Vice President expressed deep concern over the arrests of American citizens, Mission Turkey local staff, journalists, and members of civil society under the state of emergency,” the White House statement said after the meeting between the two officials in Washington on Thursday.
Mr. Pence also urged transparency and due process in the resolution of their cases.
The meeting between the two leaders came as part of expanding negotiations between the U.S. and Turkey following a sudden breakout in diplomatic ties. This week, the two NATO allies restored limited visa services in a sign of a thaw.
Turkey’s Energy Minister Berat Albayrak, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, Turkish Ambassador to U.S. Serdar Kilic and Mr. Yildirim’s chief foreign policy advisor Kerim Uras also joined the meeting that lasted more than one hour.
The White House said the leaders expressed hope that their meeting would help to usher in a new chapter in U.S.-Turkey relations and agreed on the need for constructive dialogue on bilateral challenges.
“They highlighted the United States’ and Turkey’s mutual interest in stability and security in the Middle East and agreed to further intergovernmental consultations toward that end. The Vice President also thanked the Prime Minister for Turkey’s contributions to global security and the fight to defeat ISIS, and he underscored the U.S. commitment to stand with Turkey against the PKK and other terrorist threats,” the statement said.
According to the Turkish media, the Turkish prime minister reportedly talked with Mr. Pence the extradition of U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, Turkish demand for the end of U.S. support to Syrian Kurdish militia YPG and the upcoming Reza Zarrab trial in Manhattan, New York City.