No unsolvable issues in Turkey-US ties: Erdoğan
There is no issue that cannot be resolved in relations between Turkey and the United States, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said after a meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden in Brussels, underlining that they have agreed to use direct channels of dialogue effectively and regularly, befitting the two allies and strategic partners.
Erdoğan and Biden held their first in-person meeting after the latter came to power in January on the sidelines of the NATO Summit. The two men talked first in a face-to-face meeting and then with their delegations.
“I see that there is a strong will to start a productive cooperation period based on mutual respect and interest in every field. We will increase our cooperation with Mr. Biden in line with these goals in the coming period. We think that there is no problem that cannot be resolved in the relations between Turkey and the United States of America, on the contrary, our areas of cooperation show a broader and richer outlook than the problems,” Erdoğan told a press conference after the meeting.
Erdoğan expressed his belief that “Turkey and the U.S., which have made great contributions to the peace, prosperity and security of the Euro-Atlantic geography, will continue to work with the same sensitivity.”
The two leaders discussed both the disagreements and areas of cooperation in a constructive manner, Erdoğan said.
“We evaluated the steps that can be taken to fully realize the economic potential between us, taking into account the new opportunities that will arise after the [coronavirus] pandemic.”
Erdoğan said he invited the U.S. president to visit Turkey, adding Biden will probably visit the country soon.
Position on S-400s not changed
Responding to a question about Turkey’s purchase of Russia’s S-400 missile system, Erdoğan said: “We expressed the same thoughts on the S-400s to President [Biden] as we had before, [and] also expressed the same thoughts about the F-35s.”
“Of course, all these efforts do not end here today. In the next process, our foreign ministers and defense ministers will meet their counterparts to work on this process,” he said.
On another question, Erdoğan said Biden’s categorization of the 1915 events as genocide was not brought up during the meeting.
Criticisms for US support to YPG
Erdoğan also said that Turkey clearly expressed at the NATO summit that the support given to the PYD/PKK terror group should be ended.
Recalling the recent terrorist attack by the YPG/PKK on a hospital in Afrin, Syria that killed at least 14 civilian patients and injured dozens, Erdoğan said this terror act is enough to show the bloody, dirty and ugly face of the organization.
Stressing that Turkey has expressed its priorities, sensitivities and justifiable expectations, especially in the fight against terrorism, he said there is a distorted understanding that classifies “good terrorists” and “bad terrorists.”
“It is clear that such an ambivalent attitude will not end terrorism. On the contrary, it will encourage terrorist organizations,” he stressed.
Turkey has long been criticizing the U.S. for its continued support to the YPG. The U.S. says it’s purely tactical and aims to end the radical terror threat in Syria.
Biden: We will make real progress
Biden, for his part, described his first face-to-face meeting with Erdoğan as “positive and productive,” saying both countries will make progress on bilateral relations.
Speaking at a news conference in Brussels after several talks with NATO member states’ leaders, Biden said he and Erdoğan had detailed discussions about how to proceed on a number of issues.
“Our teams are going to continue our discussions and I’m confident we’ll make real progress with Turkey and the United States,” said Biden.