Turkish and international news agencies reported that the long-awaited summit between Presidents Erdogan and Biden will take place today (Sunday, 31 October) at the sidelines of Rome G-20 summit. Erdogan is then expected to head home to deal with the rising tensions in domestic politics and a presumed new social spending package.
According to swissinfo.ch, U.S. President Joe Biden will warn Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan during a meeting on Sunday that any precipitous actions would not benefit U.S.-Turkish relations and that crises should be avoided, a U.S. official said on Saturday.
Erdogan earlier this month ordered 10 envoys, including the U.S. ambassador, to be declared “persona non grata” for seeking the release of jailed philanthropist Osman Kavala, though he later withdrew the threat to expel them.
“Certainly the president will indicate that we need to find a way to avoid crises like that one going forward and precipitous action is not going to benefit the U.S.-Turkey partnership and alliance,” the U.S. official told reporters.
The official said a meeting between the two leaders may not have happened if Erdogan had expelled the U.S. ambassador. But the issue had been resolved, for the moment at least, he said.
Biden, who is in Rome for the G20 summit, will also discuss Turkey’s request to purchase F-16 fighter jets, its defense relationship with the United States and a range of regional issues such as Syria and Libya.
U.S. lawmakers have urged the Biden administration not to sell F-16s to Turkey and threatened to block any such exports on the grounds that Turkey had purchased Russian missile defense systems and “behaved like an adversary”.
Reuters reported earlier this month that Turkey had made a request to the United States to buy 40 Lockheed Martin-made F-16s and nearly 80 modernization kits for its existing warplanes.
The alliance between the United States and Turkey, both members of NATO, has come under strain in recent years over policy differences on Syria, Turkey’s Russian S-400 missile defense purchase, and human rights.
Footage from the G-20 summit shows Biden and Erdogan spoke – albeit briefly – as the leaders sat down for their first plenary session.
Bloomberg states that Erdogan is eager to talk about the fate of $1.4 billion Turkey paid to buy F-35 fighter jets. Washington barred Ankara from purchasing and co-developing the jets after it bought Russian air-defense missiles that NATO allies fear could be used to collect intelligence on the plane’s stealth capabilities.
Pro-AKP daily Daily Sabah notes that Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Thursday “If the U.S. does not want to resolve the issue about F-35s, or if the U.S. Congress blocks it, Turkey will consider other options, including purchasing (Russian-made) SU-35s or SU-57s,” Cavusoglu said.
On Wednesday, U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan held a phone call with Turkey’s Presidential Spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin in which they discussed bilateral relations, the F-35/F-16 issue, global climate change, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, Nagorno-Karabakh, Greece, the Eastern Mediterranean and other regional developments.
Sullivan and Kalin also discussed the subjects and details of the bilateral meeting Erdogan and Biden were expected to have on the margins of the Glasgow climate summit, which has now been brought forward.
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