Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan sounded upbeat after his first face-to-face talks with Joe Biden, though he announced no major breakthroughs in the awkward relationship between the two allies, at odds over Russian weapons, Syria, Libya and other issues. Erdogan characterised his talks with the new US president on the sidelines of a Nato summit in Brussels as “productive and sincere”. “We think that there are no issues within US-Turkey ties, and that areas of cooperation for us are richer and larger than problems,” he said. Turkey, with the alliance’s second-largest military, has angered its allies in the Western military alliance by buying Russian surface-to-air missiles and intervening in wars in Syria and Libya.
As president, Biden has adopted a cooler tone than predecessor Donald Trump towards Erdogan. Biden quickly recognised the 1915 massacre of Armenians as genocide - a position that angers Turkey - and stepped up criticism of Turkey’s human rights record.
Washington has already removed Ankara from the F-35 fighter jet programme and imposed sanctions over Turkey’s purchase of the Russian S-400 surface-to-air missiles.
President Biden said he held “positive and productive” talks with his Turkish counterpart, much of it just between the two of them to discuss how to proceed on a number of issues. (Reuters)
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