US President Joe Biden and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan pledged Sunday to improve bilateral ties following a particularly tense period between Washington and Ankara.
Meeting on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Rome, the two leaders “had a very constructive conversation” in which Biden “made clear his desire to have constructive relations with Turkey and to find an effective way to manage our disagreements,” a senior US administration official said.
According to the Turkish presidency, the leaders “expressed their joint commitment to further strengthening Turkey-US relations and agreed to establish a joint mechanism to that effect”.
They also “stressed the importance of the NATO alliance,” the Turkish presidency said.
Turkey’s 2019 purchase of a Russian S-400 air defence system has been an irritant on ties, prompting Washington to block Ankara’s plans to buy about 100 next-generation US F-35 planes.
Erdogan has insisted on compensation, saying Washington could pay back at least part of the $1.4 billion advance payment Turkey made for the F-35s through the delivery of older-generation F-16 fighter jets.
"'This is really a blow to the US-Turkish relationship overall, & especially given that the blow came to the @StateDept,' said the person, adding that it was the agency that most supported strong bilateral ties w/ 🇹🇷," reports @laurapitel & @KatrinaManson:https://t.co/5BPW6MQciV
— Aykan Erdemir (@aykan_erdemir) October 28, 2021
In addition, Erdogan earlier this month threatened to expel a slew of Western ambassadors, including from the United States, over their support for a jailed Turkish activist.
In comments to journalists later Sunday, Erdogan said he had “expressed our sadness over US support for terror organisations” in Syria, citing the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Kurdish YPG militia, with whom the United States worked closely in the fight against the Islamic State (IS) extremist group.
Read more: US plays religious card to pressurize Turkey
According to the White House, Biden used Sunday’s meeting to also raise the issue of human rights, and discuss a “full range of foreign policy topics,” including Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, the Eastern Mediterranean, the South Caucasus region — and climate change.
AFP with additional input by GVS News Desk