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  • Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (L) shakes hands with US President Barak Obama (R) during the G20 Leaders Summit wellcoming cerenomy on November 15,2015 in Antalya.

    Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (L) shakes hands with US President Barak Obama (R) during the G20 Leaders Summit wellcoming cerenomy on November 15,2015 in Antalya. | Photo: AFP

A Turkish presidential statement did not even mention Obama, but did say Erdogan would hold talks on the anti-terror fight.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan heads to the United States for the second visit of his presidency at a time when relations between the two NATO allies have been severely tested by widening differences over the Syria conflict and human rights.

Erdogan, who became president in August 2014 after more than a decade as prime minister, has yet to hold talks with President Barack Obama at the White House as head of state, and no such encounter is planned for this trip — a glaring symbol of the current troubles in relations.

Turkish officials insist the main point of Erdogan's trip is to attend the March 31-April 1 Nuclear Security Summit in Washington and also open a vast Ottoman-style mosque in Maryland, a new statement of Turkey's desire to spread its cultural and religious influence abroad.

The White House said Monday there were no plans for bilateral talks between Obama and Erdogan, who last visited the U.S. for the United Nations General Assembly in September 2014.
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