Biden to meet with Turkey's Erdogan Sunday: US official

AFP , Saturday 30 Oct 2021

US President Joe Biden will meet with Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Rome, a senior US official said.

Turkey s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reacts during a group photo of world leaders at the La Nuvol
Turkey s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reacts during a group photo of world leaders at the La Nuvola conference center for the G20 summit in Rome, Saturday, Oct. 30, 2021. (AP Photo)

The NATO allies had been expected to hold a bilateral at the UN summit climate in Glasgow next week, but a senior US administration official briefed reporters on Saturday that it would take place Sunday morning.

On the agenda will be Syria, Libya and the various defence systems Turkey hopes to acquire from Russia and the United States.

Erdogan has had a rocky relationship with Biden, whom he last met in June on the sidelines of a NATO summit in Brussels.

Turkey is currently seeking $1.4 billion in compensation after Washington kicked the NATO ally out of its F-35 fighter jet programme in retaliation for buying a Russian missile defence system.

The meeting would also come on the heels of a new diplomatic spat that saw Erdogan threaten to expel ambassadors from the United States and nine other Western nations over their support for a jailed Turkish civil society leader.

Erdogan, who accused the envoys of meddling in Turkey's affairs, walked back the threat after the embassies issued statements pledging to stay out of Turkey's domestic affairs.

"I'm not actually even sure we would have had the meeting if he had gone ahead and expelled," the US official said.

"Certainly the president will indicate that we need to find a way to avoid crises like that one going forward... Precipitous action is not going to benefit the US-Turkey partnership and alliance."

Turkey's 2019 purchase of a Russian S-400 air defence system has been an irritant on ties, prompting Washington to block Ankara's plans to buy about 100 next-generation US F-35 planes.

Erdogan has insisted on compensation, saying Washington could pay back at least part of the $1.4 billion advance payment Turkey made for the F-35s through the delivery of older-generation F-16 fighter jets.

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