Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan addresses the media during a news conference with Romania's President Klaus Iohannis (not seen) in Ankara, Turkey, March 23, 2016. REUTERS/Murat Cetinmuhurdar/Presidential Palace Press Office
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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan heads to the United States for only the second visit of his presidency at a time when relations between the two key NATO allies are severely tested by widening differences over the Syria conflict and human rights.Erdogan, who became president in August 2014 after over a decade as premier, 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 in a glaring symbol of the current troubles in relations.According to the Hurriyet daily, Erdogan had wanted to open the new mosque in Maryland – touted by Turkey as the only one in the United States with two minarets – alongside Obama but the U.S. leader had turned down the idea.The surprise arrest in the U.S. last week of Turkish-Iranian businessman Reza Zarrab who was implicated in a 2013 corruption scandal that also ensnared Erdogan's close circle, has been hailed by the president's foes.
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