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Joint Statement on the U.S.-Turkey Strategic Mechanism – United States Department of State

The text of the following statement was released by the governments of the United States of America and Turkey on the occasion of the seventh meeting of the US-Turkey Strategic Mechanism.

Starting text:

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken and Secretary of State Hakan Fidan chaired the seventh meeting of the U.S.-Turkey Strategic Mechanism on March 7-8, 2024 in Washington. The Strategic Mechanism included open, collaborative strategic discussions led by senior officials from the U.S. State Department and the Turkish Foreign Ministry on March 7, followed by a meeting between Secretary Blinken and Secretary Fidan on March 8.

Secretary Blinken and Secretary Fidan reaffirmed their commitment to a results-oriented, forward-looking and positive bilateral agenda that advances shared goals and addresses emerging global challenges. They discussed strengthening U.S.-Turkey relations on a wide range of issues, including regional priorities, counterterrorism, defense cooperation, economic growth, trade, energy security and climate change, and people-to-people relations.

Secretary Blinken and Secretary Fidan reiterated the United States and Turkey’s support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity against Russia’s unacceptable war. The United States welcomed Türkiye’s efforts in the Black Sea, including the recently announced Mine Countermeasures Task Force and facilitating key safe routes for grain and other international trade.

Secretary Blinken and Secretary Fidan discussed the ongoing crisis in Gaza and reviewed their respective diplomatic commitments. They stressed the importance of finding a way to end the conflict and urgently address the humanitarian crisis. They also reaffirmed their commitment to a lasting two-state solution.

Minister Blinken and Minister Fidan reiterated the need to combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. The United States and Türkiye have resumed Turkey-U.S. counterterrorism consultations under the Strategic Mechanism to expand cooperation against terrorism and address affiliated networks operating in organized crime and drug trafficking as a threat to their respective national security. The Foreign Minister reiterated that the United States condemns the PKK terrorist organization DHKP-C and ISIS/DAESH attacks on Turkey and Turkish interests. The United States and Türkiye reaffirmed their shared commitment to ensuring the lasting defeat of ISIS/DAESH in Syria and Iraq and discussed cooperation to counter the threat posed by ISIS/DAESH and al-Qaeda affiliates in Africa and Central Asia.

Secretary Blinken and Secretary Fidan discussed all aspects of the Syrian crisis and reaffirmed the United States and Turkey’s commitment to a Syrian-led and Syrian-owned political process in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 2254. Türkiye and the United States reiterated the importance of returning ISIS-affiliated prisoners and displaced persons from northeast Syria to their countries of origin, where they can be rehabilitated and reintegrated into their communities of origin and, if necessary, brought to justice.

The two sides also addressed broader issues in the Middle East and Africa, including the need to build regional stability and connectivity through increased economic and security cooperation.

Secretary Blinken and Secretary Fidan discussed the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean and emphasized the importance of maintaining stability and communication channels. The Minister welcomed the ongoing engagement between Türkiye and Greece, including the Fifth High-Level Cooperation Council in Athens in December 2023 and the signing of a Türkiye-Greece Declaration on Friendly Relations and Good Neighborliness.

With regard to the South Caucasus, Secretary Blinken and Secretary Fidan committed to working together to promote a balanced and lasting peace agreement between Azerbaijan and Armenia, agreeing that this would promote regional stability, cooperation and well-being.

Ahead of the 75th NATO Summit in Washington, Secretary Blinken and Secretary Fidan discussed ways to strengthen NATO coordination and solidarity in the face of current threats and challenges. They reaffirmed their long-standing commitment to collective defense as allies and to NATO’s open door policy. As NATO’s two largest militaries, both sides reaffirmed the importance of our commitments and our renewed, two-way defense trade relationship to enhance capabilities, ensure interoperability and increase the strength of our collective security. The two ministers welcomed Sweden’s accession as the 32nd NATO ally, which will strengthen the alliance and Euro-Atlantic security.

Looking forward, Secretary Blinken and Secretary Fidan discussed ways to transform the U.S.-Turkey security and defense relationship to build on each country’s significant capabilities and innovations and address strategic challenges and opportunities. In this regard, they announced that the US-Turkey Defense Trade Dialogue would meet in 2024 and both countries would look for opportunities to advance defense industrial cooperation.

Secretary Blinken and Secretary Fidan acknowledged the continued growth of U.S.-Turkey bilateral trade, which has reached over $30 billion. They reiterated the importance of expanding economic and commercial cooperation and building on existing bilateral forums – such as the Digital Dialogue held in Türkiye on March 4 – to expand and deepen our economic cooperation. The two sides discussed leveraging financing opportunities under the Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment to create high standards of infrastructure in developing countries. Both sides endorsed an Energy and Climate Dialogue (ECD) launched and co-led by the US Department of Energy and the Turkish Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources, with the participation of the US State Department and the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The ECD will advance energy security and energy transition in both countries as well as cooperation on climate change. Both sides recognized, particularly with regard to net-zero goals, the growing importance of civil nuclear energy, both conventional and small modular reactors, designed to the highest standards of safety, security and non-proliferation, and encouraged public and private use sector of Turkey and the USA to do so explore possibilities and develop concrete proposals for cooperation in this area.

Secretary Blinken and Secretary Fidan also recognized people-to-people relations between the two countries as one of the pillars of bilateral relations. This year’s 75th anniversary of the Fulbright Program between the United States and Turkey is an example of this connection. Both sides recognized the 2021 Cultural Property Agreement, through which 72 Turkish cultural and historical artifacts have been returned to Türkiye since the agreement came into force, as a reference point for the strength of our partnership.

Minister Blinken and Minister Fidan welcomed their opportunity to use the Strategic Mechanism to develop a positive, forward-looking strategic vision to advance shared goals. Both sides look forward to further developing the US-Turkey strategic relationship and welcomed the increase in bilateral meetings.

End text.

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