Turkey and the U.S. will overcome the current “turbulent period” in their relations through their strategic partnership, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said late Wednesday.
“Our strategic partnership, which has gone through difficulties so many times, will overcome this turbulent period,” Erdogan said during his address at the Ninth Turkey Investment Conference held by the Turkey-U.S. Business Council (TAIK) in New York.
Erdogan said disagreements with the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump on issues such as the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), the fight against terrorism, Jerusalem, Syria and sanctions “test Turkish-American relations”.
He said he believes that Turkey and the U.S. need to come a long way in their relations, especially with regards to the FETO and PYD/PKK terrorist organizations.
Erdogan said some circles in the Trump administration assume they can resolve differences with Turkey through threats, pressure and blackmail.
He questioned why the U.S. is protecting FETO leader Fetullah Gulen, adding: “Are we not strategic partners?”
Erdogan said FETO is active in 27 U.S. states and has charter schools there.
FETO and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen are accused of orchestrating the defeated coup of July 15, 2016 which left 251 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.
Ankara also accuses FETO of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police and judiciary.
Investments in US exceed $4.6 billion
Erdogan said the bilateral trade volume between Turkey and the U.S. was above $20 billion in 2017. He said Turkey’s exports to the U.S. totaled $8.7 billion and imports totaled $12 billion.
“As of today, Turkish firms’ investments in the U.S. exceed $4.6 billion,” he added.
The president said Turkey views the future of political and economic relations with the U.S. with hope despite Washington imposing sanctions and doubling tariffs on Turkish aluminum and steel imports.
He said there are no winners in trade wars and each unilateral decision will be met with retaliation.
Erdogan said Turkey will continue to strengthen the investment environment without compromising the rules of the free market economy.
“We will continue to make the necessary legal arrangements for attracting more direct investments and for international investors to invest safely in our country,” he added.