Erdoğan to meet Trump at G20 summit in Japan
U.S. President Donald Trump will meet his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdoğan at the G20 Osaka summit in Japan set for June 28-29, a U.S. official said.
The official said Trump will also meet Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, India’s Premier Narendra Modi, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
Turkey’s purchase of Russian S-400 missile defense systems and bilateral ties are expected to be discussed in the leaders’ meeting, according to the senior official from the White House, who announced Monday Trump’s full summit program.
Tensions between the United States and Turkey have escalated in recent months with Turkey set to begin receiving the advanced S-400 surface-to-air missile defense system, which Washington said will jeopardize Turkey’s role in the F-35 fighter jet program and could trigger sanctions. Turkey expects a softer tone from Trump and even an exemption from congressional sanctions.
The United States has made clear that it will impose sanctions on Turkey if the Turkish government goes ahead and deploys S-400s on its soils. In a letter sent to Defense Minister Hulusi Akar on June 6, former acting Pentagon chief Patrick Shanahan announced that Turkey will be excluded from the F-35 project if Turkey does not change its course on the S-400s. In a response letter, Akar slammed his counterpart for using language unsuitable for the spirit of alliance.
Erdoğan has already said that the first parts of the S-400s will be deployed in the first half of July under what he calls a “done deal” with Russia. Turkey dispatched a technical military team to Russia for training in May, and a Russian team is expected to pay a visit to Turkey on June 28 and 30 to carry out examinations on the sites where the S-400s would be deployed.
Turkey has urged the United States to form a commission to clarify any technical issues about S-400 systems, but U.S. government officials have not responded to this proposal.