Erdoğan, Biden to address number of issues
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said he will discuss all the aspects of the Turkish-American ties with U.S. President Joe Biden in their in-person meeting on the sidelines of the NATO Summit in Brussels, specifying the latter’s categorization of the 1915 events as genocide and the U.S. exclusion of Turkey from the F-35 fighter project.
“It will be our first in-person meeting since [Biden] came to power. Obviously, we have to talk over the Turkish-American relationship. There were a lot of rumors inside and outside. We have to leave all these behind and speak about we can do together,” Erdoğan told reporters at a press conference before his departure to Brussels on June 13.
In Brussels, Erdoğan and Biden will hold a meeting after the conclusion of the NATO Summit. Erdoğan will also hold talks with French President Emmanuel Macron, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.
There are so many issues on his agenda with Biden, Erdoğan said, specifying the American president’s characterization of the 1915 events as genocide. “This approach has seriously upset us. It is not possible for us not to bring this up,” he stated, recalling that this was not a move in line with the spirit of NATO alliance.
Another issue he said he will raise is the U.S. exclusion of Turkey from the F-35 stealth fighter project although Turkey has been making its payments properly and producing around 700 pieces of the fighter jet. “In this regard, America does not fulfill its words and does not comply with the contract, although Turkey has fulfilled its responsibility,” Erdoğan said, criticizing the U.S. for not sending five aircraft Turkey has already paid for.
“Our only expectation from the U.S. is to see an approach that will strengthen NATO’s unity and solidarity,” Erdoğan stated.
US happy over Turkey’s response on Afghanistan
As one of the countries that continues to fulfill its responsibilities at NATO, Turkey is paying crucial importance to the alliance, Erdoğan said, informing about an ongoing dialogue between Turkey and the U.S. over Afghanistan. “Following the withdrawal of the American troops [from Afghanistan] the only country that can endure the mission is Turkey,” he said, stressing that the U.S. has welcomed Turkey’s position regarding keeping the troops for the continued operation of the international airport in Kabul.
On a question about his expectations out of his talks with Biden, Erdoğan recalled that it is not the first time that he is going to meet an American president as he worked with George w. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump.
“I can’t say that we have always had bad days with them. We have carried out some successful works. But, at the same time, I cannot either say that all our expectations were met,” he said. “I wish that these expectations will be met afterwards.”
Erdoğan slams YPG attack
In his statement, he also slammed the YPG for attacking a hospital in the Afrin region of Syria, killing at least 14 civilians. Turkey will not leave these attacked unanswered, Erdoğan underlined.
The summit to be held in Brussels will underline the importance Turkey is attaching to the alliance and calls to the allied countries for solidarity in its fight against the terror organizations, Erdoğan stated.
“As a reliable NATO country, we believe Turkey’s importance will further increase towards 2030,” he emphasized, referring to a report advising how NATO should reform itself given the changing nature of security environment.
After his trip to Brussels, Erdoğan said he will go to Azerbaijan and meet President İlham Aliyev in Shusha, which was saved from Armenia’s occupation and was announced as the cultural capital of Azerbaijan.
As part of the visit, Erdoğan will address the National Parliament of Azerbaijan and watch, together with President Aliyev, the UEFA EURO 2020 group stage match the Turkish national football team will play in Baku on June 16.