The Secretary of State of the United States is arriving in Ankara today Anthony Blinken. It is the second stop of the tour that started from Germany and the Munich Conference. It will be completed in Athens in the next few days.

The State Department had announced that this stop was not planned for Blinken’s tour, but it seems that after the devastating earthquake, Ankara was added to his trip.

The deadly earthquake in southeastern Turkey and its consequences changed the priorities of the American Minister, whose first stop in Turkey will be the Incirlik Air Base on February 19, in order to see for himself the contribution of the US to the fight that the Turkish authorities are making to respond to the devastation caused by the deadly earthquake.

The next stop will be Anchorwhere he will have a meeting with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu and other Turkish officials with whom he is primarily expected to discuss US support for the currently trying Turkey.

The need to further strengthen the US-Turkey partnership within the framework of NATO clearly remains on the agenda of the talks, given that the thorn in the side of the bloc – in practice – still exists Tayyip Erdoğan on the accession of Sweden and Finland in the alliance.

Even if it is not proposed, as the issue of the earthquake dominates in Turkey, the purchase of F-16s as well as the upgrading of those available to Turkey will clearly be the subject of the talks.

It is a given that Ankara expects a different treatment, comments Deutsche Welle. But the same is expected by the United States as the reconstruction of a huge area of ​​Turkey is now a priority. A disaster that affected 13 million populationand an area that is larger than many other countries.

Reconstruction will cost many tens of billions of dollars. Unbearable costs for the Turkish economy, a fact that puts Tayyip Erdoğan in front of serious dilemmas, and in fact four months before the election date, which he has publicly declared himself.

Regardless of whether he seeks the maximum possible postponement of the election date, the financial burden that will be added to the difficult economic situation of the country, is what will determine the election result.

This is probably the start of a new page in Turkey’s relations with neighboring countries as well as with the United States, which will focus primarily on the economy.

In Athens, Anthony Blinken is expected to meet with the Greek prime minister, the foreign minister and the leader of the main opposition, with whom he will discuss defense cooperation, energy security and the joint commitment of the US and Greece to the defense of the Republic.

Given also that the Biden administration simultaneously promotes the case of the Greek F-35s with the upgrade package and purchase of F-16s from the Turkish Air Force, it is clear that Blinken’s visit to the region also includes this specific issue. However, the interest in the contacts in Athens is also focused on the issue of the F-35, with the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee of the American Senate, Bob Menendez, having already given the green light for the sale of the American fighter jets to Greece with the signature of the relevant Greek request on his part.

At the same time, Anthony Blinken, during his stay in Athens, will inaugurate the fourth round of the US-Greece Strategic Dialogue on February 21. This is the fourth round of the strategic dialogue between the two countries, the last one having taken place in October 2021, when Mr. Blinken met with Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias, and since then no new programming had been possible, mainly due to the difficulty finding suitable dates.

– DW