Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will hold a roundtable call with several U.S. corporate chief executives on May 26 to highlight both countries' growing cooperation, Turkey's embassy in Washington confirmed on May 25.
On May 24, Reuters reported the meeting was scheduled with some 20 executives. One source called it an opportunity to test the waters with companies ahead of Erdoğan's planned meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden next month.
"It is a way to test the waters with U.S. companies, a kind of preliminary work prior to a face-to-face meeting with Biden," the source, who was from industry and requested anonymity, told Reuters.
Ankara "wants the domestic and international audience to get the message that basically says Turkey is an important partner," the person added.
The "CEO-level virtual roundtable" would include a wide range of U.S. industries, Yaprak Ece, an official at the Turkish Embassy, said in an email.
"President Erdoğan regularly meets with the international investors and this event would highlight the two countries' growing economic and trade cooperation, in addition to current economic affairs," she said.
Another source who spoke to Reuters said executives from Microsoft and Netflix are among those to join the call. The two companies did not respond to requests for comment.
The planned June 14 meeting between Biden and Erdoğan, on the sidelines of a NATO summit in Brussels, would be their first in-person encounter since the U.S. election last year.
Bilateral ties have been strained on several fronts including U.S. tariffs on Turkish steel and Ankara's purchase of Russian missile defenses in 2019, which prompted Washington to oust Turkey from a consortium producing F-35 jets.
The leaders have held only one call, on April 23, when the NATO meeting was scheduled and when Biden told Erdoğan that the White House would call the Ottoman massacre of Armenians a century ago a genocide, a move that drew Turkish condemnation.
U.S.-Turkish trade reached about $21 billion in 2019 and the NATO allies have said they aim to lift that to $100 billion.