Erdogan says held ‘fruitful, sincere’ talks with Biden

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BRUSSELS, June 15, 2021 (BSS/AFP) – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday he held a “fruitful and sincere” meeting with his US counterpart Joe Biden on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Brussels.

“We believe there is no problem that cannot be resolved in Turkey-US relations,” Erdogan added after holding his first meeting with Biden since his election.

Relations between the two NATO allies nosedived after Turkey’s purchase of a Russian S-400 missile defence system that the US believes can be used to spy on Western defences.

Erdogan announced no progress on the S-400 dispute. Washington imposed sanctions on Turkey’s military procurement agency for the purchase last year.

“On the issue of S-400s, I told (Biden) the same thing I had in the past,” Erdogan said.

Biden has also made a point of highlighting Turkey’s deteriorating record on human rights and took three full months after his swearing in ceremony before placing his first call to Erdogan.

Erdogan raised the possibility ahead of the meeting that the two sides could cooperate on Turkey’s potential role securing the international airport in Kabul after the US completes its troop withdrawal from Afghanistan.

He announced no firm deal on the airport but said Turkish forces might work jointly in Afghanistan with those of Pakistan and NATO member Hungary.

“We agreed to use direct channels of dialogue effectively and regularly in a way that fits two allies and strategic partners,” Erdogan said.