Turkish president faces a cool reception in US visit

Mr Obama has turned down Mr. Erdogan’s request to join him for the inauguration of a Turkish-funded mosque in Maryland, and the US president has no plans for a formal one-on-one meeting with his Turkish counterpart, who is a vital ally in the fight against Islamic State, US officials told The Wall Street Journal.

The White House is instead expected to have Vice President Joe Biden meet with Mr Erdogan.
Senior US administration officials said the decision not to meet Mr Erdogan while he is in Washington shouldn’t be taken as a slight because the two presidents met in November at the Group of 20 summit in Turkey, and spoke by phone in February.

“The president has been in such regular contact with few other world leaders,” said a senior U.S. administration official. “When it comes to the NSS, there is not a robust [bilateral] schedule, so it’s not as if Erdogan is being excluded.”

Delegations from 51 nations are expected to attend the summit, which begins Thursday. Mr Obama has only one planned one-on-one meeting—with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Turkey is at the center of the fight against Islamic State, the struggle to end Syria’s civil war, and the global refugee crisis, making Mr. Erdogan a key partner for Western leaders.

Mr Erdogan has alienated some allies by overseeing a crackdown on domestic critics and waging a new fight with Kurdish insurgents. The allies’ need to work with the Turkish president has tempered their public criticism.

“This is one of the least bright spots for Mr. Erdogan’s foreign-policy agenda, said Soner Cagaptay, director of the Turkish Research Program at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. “He took a stellar personal relationship with the US president and look where it is today.”

The US and its allies need Mr Erdogan’s help in clamping down on Islamic State extremists leaving Syria and containing the migrant crisis stoked by the war in Syria.

Turkish officials have been trying for months to lay the groundwork for a meeting in Washington with Mr Obama.

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