Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is set to depart for his four-day trip to the United States today with a heavy agenda topped by recent developments in Syria and the Syrian regime-linked deadly blast that killed 49 Turkish citizens over the weekend. Apart from Erdoğan’s meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama, another crucial meeting will take place at the Pentagon where Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel is expected to give a detailed briefing on Syria.
Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, EU Minister Egemen Bağış and Economy Minister Zafer Çağlayan will accompany Erdoğan, along with 90 businessmen who will have separate meetings with their U.S. counterparts. The prime minister’s meeting with Obama is set to take place on May 16. The most important topic of the Erdoğan-Obama meeting will be the ongoing turmoil in Syria and international efforts to end the bloodshed in Turkey’s southern neighbor. As Turkish officials said they have evidence proving that the deadly blast in Reyhanlı was organized by the Bashar al-Assad regime, Erdoğan is likely to ask Obama to do more for the Syrian opposition to speed up the political transition.