Turkey-US advisers hold first talks since Biden inauguration

Turkey-US advisers hold first talks since Biden inauguration

Turkey-US advisers hold first talks since Biden inauguration

Presidential Spokesperson İbrahim Kalın held a phone conversation with U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan on Feb. 2, the first such official dialogue since the new administration in Washington took office on Jan. 21.

The officials highlighted that it is necessary for Turkey and the United States to strengthen their relations, maintain close contact in every issue, and effectively use the channels of dialogue for constructive cooperation in the period ahead, a written statement by the Turkish presidency said.

Kalın expressed Turkey’s expectation that the two allied countries would adopt a strong, sustainable and constructive model of relationship in the new era. A consensus was reached to strengthen the NATO alliance and to take steps that would contribute to regional and global peace and stability.

They discussed issues regarding Syria, Libya, the eastern Mediterranean, Cyprus and Nagorno-Karabakh, according to the statement.

Kalın told Sullivan that joint efforts were needed to find a solution to current disagreements between the countries, such as Turkey’s purchase of Russian S-400 defense systems, delivery of F-35 jets and the U.S. support for the YPG group in northern Syria.

They agreed that political resolution processes in Syria and Libya should be consolidated while underlining that it is necessary to carry out an effective and joint fight against all kinds of terrorist organizations.

The latest situation in northwestern Idlib city of Syria was also discussed, with the officials arguing that a new influx of refugees would trigger regional instability and humanitarian crisis that require tangible and quick measures.

Furthermore, the exploratory talks between Turkey and Greece are expected to contribute to the peace and stability in the eastern Mediterranean, according to the statement.

It was noted that Turkey welcomed the decision by the U.S to rejoin the Paris Agreement (COP21) and that international solidarity was essential in the fight against climate change. The importance of global cooperation and solidarity in the fight against COVID-19 was also highlighted.

In its statement on the meeting, the White House said Sullivan underscored the Biden administration’s desire to build “constructive” U.S.-Turkey ties, but also touched on areas of friction.

Sullivan “conveyed the administration’s intention to strengthen transatlantic security through NATO, expressing concern that Turkey’s acquisition of the Russian S-400 surface-to-air missile system undermines alliance cohesion and effectiveness,” National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horne said.

NATO allies Washington and Ankara have been at loggerheads over Turkey’s purchase of the Russian-made S-400 defense systems. In December, the Trump administration imposed long-anticipated sanctions on Turkey over the acquisition, a move Turkey called a “grave mistake.” It had also removed Turkey, a NATO ally, from its F-35 fighter jet program as a result.

Washington says the S-400s pose a threat to its advanced F-35 fighters and NATO’s broader defense systems. Turkey rejects this by saying that the S-400s will not be integrated into NATO, and has offered to form a joint working group to examine the conflicting claims.

Ankara says its purchase of the S-400s was not a choice but rather a necessity because it was unable to procure missile defense systems from other NATO allies with satisfactory conditions.