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Biden Wraps Up Visit to Turkey

  • VOA News

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden (l) his wife, Jill Biden, and Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I meet during the Bidens' visit to the Church of St. George on Nov. 23, 2014 in Istanbul.

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden (l) his wife, Jill Biden, and Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I meet during the Bidens' visit to the Church of St. George on Nov. 23, 2014 in Istanbul.

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and his wife met Sunday with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, spiritual leader of the world's Orthodox Christians, during the last day of his visit to Turkey.

The Bidens visited the Church of St. George, a Greek-Orthodox cathedral in Istanbul, known as Constantinople during the Byzantine era, before heading to the historic Suleymaniye Mosque, the largest in the city.


Biden arrived in Istanbul on Friday for talks with Turkish leaders on the crisis in Syria.

Biden said Saturday that he and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan discussed a Syrian transition of power away from the Bashar al-Assad regime during a four-hour meeting earlier in the day.

He said they also talked about denying Islamic State militants a safe haven in Iraq and Syria.

In the past, Erdogan has insisted if the U.S. wants Turkish help, it must focus less on fighting IS extremists and more on toppling the Assad regime. On Saturday, he said Turkey will continue working closely with the United States, and he called Biden's visit "very meaningful."

Biden said the United States will continue to help Turkey cope with the humanitarian crisis created by 1.6 million Syrian refugees flooding into Turkish refugee camps.

Meanwhile the White House announced the U.S. will give $135 million in additional humanitarian assistance to help Turkey and other nations care for refugees fleeing violence in Syria.

Most of that funding is slated for the World Food Program, to be used for household food rations and food vouchers for refugees. Nearly $11 million of the funds will go to support the World Food Program in Turkey.

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