The US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, arrived at 19:10 local time (18:10 Greek time) in Istanbul, the first stop on his tour of Middle Eastern countries and Greece.

The subject of Sweden’s accession to NATO, the F-16 fighters that Turkey requests from the United States and the developments surrounding the war in Gaza, where Ankara and Washington have different approaches, are the main topics on the agenda of the American minister. Foreigners in Turkey. Regional issues and bilateral relations are also expected to be discussed.

Antony Blinken will meet tomorrow with Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan, while all the information converges on the assessment that there will be a meeting with President Erdogan tomorrow at noon.

The United States is expected to pressure Turkey not to further delay Sweden’s NATO membership.

The relevant protocol was approved by the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Turkish National Assembly and the next steps are for it to go through the Plenary Assembly, which returns from recess on January 16, and receive the final signature from Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Ankara is expected to press ahead with the purchase of F-16s and modernization kits for the existing aging fleet of the Turkish air force, as it has raised the issue of simultaneously approving Sweden’s accession with the US Congress’s approval of the sale of the fighters.

Blinken was welcomed at the Istanbul airport by the Director General of Bilateral Political Affairs for the US at the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Yaprak Balkan, the US Ambassador to Ankara Jeffrey Flake, the US Consul General in Istanbul, Julie Ideh, and other officials.

The US Secretary of State will travel to Chania tomorrow Saturday where he will have a one-on-one meeting with the Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis. According to a statement from the Prime Minister’s press office, a working meeting will follow, in which the Minister of Foreign Affairs Giorgos Gerapetritis, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Alexandra Papadopoulou, the director of the diplomatic office of the Prime Minister, Ambassador Anna Maria Boura and the special adviser for International Policy and Public Affairs will participate. Diplomacy of Prime Minister Aristotelia Pelonis.

Anthony Blinken will then visit five Arab countries, as well as Israel and the West Bank as part of his fourth tour of the region since the war began on October 7.