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Turkish, US officials to discuss disputes in Washington in two days

A delegation of Turkish officials is reportedly set to visit the United States for discussions on the ongoing diplomatic tensions between the two NATO allies over a set of issues, particularly the Syria policy and trade ties.

CNN Turk cited diplomatic sources as saying Tuesday that the Turkish team would be visiting Washington in two days, adding that the two sides have already reached pre-agreements on certain issues, without giving more details.

Ankara and Washington are at odds on multiple fronts.

Turkey is angry at the US for supporting and arming the Kurdish militants operating near its border in northern Syria. Ankara says the militants are linked to the homegrown Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which it designates as a terrorist group.

Those concerns have dragged Ankara into a military offensive in northern Syria, where the Turkish military managed to drive the US-backed militants out of Afrin and seize control of the city.

Meanwhile, Turkey and the US are also engaged in a trade spat, which made Turkey’s national lira currency hit a record low on Monday.

The dispute broke out in March when Washington decided to impose duties on imports of steel and aluminum from Turkey, prompting a series of retaliatory measures by Ankara.

At the current level, the lira has lost more than 27 percent of its value against the US dollar so far this year.

In another row, Turkey wants the US to extradite opposition Cleric Fetullah Gulen. Ankara accuses the Pennsylvania-based Turkish preacher of masterminding a coup against the Turkish government back in 2016.

Most recently, the ties took a turn for worse due to Turkey’s refusal to release Andrew Brunson, an American Pastor. Brunson is accused of working with both the PKK and Gulen’s organization.

US President Donald Trump has threatened “large” sanctions against Turkey if it does not free Brunson.

Last week, Washington imposed sanctions on the Turkish justice and interior ministers, saying they played leading roles in organizations responsible for Brunson’s arrest.

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in response that Turkey would retaliate by freezing assets of the US interior and justice ministers in Turkey “if they have any.”

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