Biden wants ‘effective way to manage disagreements’ with Turkey

(Updates with Communications Directorate statement)

U.S. President Joe Biden said his desire was to “have constructive relations with Turkey” and to find an “effective way” to manage disagreements, according to a White House readout of Biden’s meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Sunday’s G20 summit in Rome.

The two presidents discussed the conflicts in Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, eastern Mediterranean and the south Caucasus, and Turkey’s wish to purchase F-16s from the United States, according to the readout.

Biden made it “very clear that there was a process underway that we had to go through”, the White House said. Biden will also “continue to raise” issues with Turkey’s track record on human rights, democracy and the rule of law, a White House spokesman told reporters after the meeting.

There is also an ongoing process regarding the F-35 crisis between the two NATO allies, it added. Turkey had paid for several units of the next generation stealth fighter jets, but over a dispute regarding its purchase of Russian S-400 missile defence systems, it was removed from the F-35 development program.

The S-400s “an issue that continues to be a concern for Congress and continues to be a factor in all of these broader issues as part of our defence relationship,” the spokesman said. “The president and the administration have long been clear that the S400s are a problem.”

Washington and Ankara will continue to “work on the political process” in Syria, and “focus on the refugee situation,” he added.

Biden and Erdoğan discussed steps to increase bilateral trade volume and spoke of their pleasure over steps taken towards combatting climate change, according to Turkey's state-run Anadolu Agency. 

On Saturday Reuters had reported that Biden was planning to “warn Erdoğan on ‘impulsive actions’”.

The meeting was “held in a positive atmosphere”, and the two leaders “agreed on forming a joint mechanism” to “further strengthen and advance Turkey-U.S. relations”, Turkey’s Presidential Communications Directorate said in a statement by after the meeting.

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