Biden to talk to Turkey's Erdogan over threat to expel western nations' envoys

Reuters
Rome Published: Oct 31, 2021, 10:53 AM(IST)

US President Joe Biden reaches out to shake hands with Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during a group photo at the G20 summit in Rome, Italy Photograph:( Reuters )

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The official said a meeting between the two leaders may not have happened if Erdogan had expelled the US ambassador, but the issue had been resolved, for the moment at least, he said

US President Joe Biden will warn Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan during a meeting on Sunday that any precipitous actions would not benefit US-Turkish relations and that crises should be avoided, a US official said on Saturday.

Erdogan earlier this month ordered 10 envoys, including the US 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 US-Turkey partnership and alliance," the US official told reporters.

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The official said a meeting between the two leaders may not have happened if Erdogan had expelled the US 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 defence relationship with the United States and a range of regional issues such as Syria and Libya.

US 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 defence 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 defence purchase, and human rights.

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