United States President; Joe Biden is set to meet with Turkey’s President; Tayyip Erdogan on Monday to discuss Ankara’s purchase of Russian S-400 missiles but there is no hope that the bitter dispute that divides NATO will be resolved during the face-to-face talks.
Turkey which has NATO’s second-biggest military has disagreements with the United States over Syria, human rights, the treatment of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire, and tensions in the eastern Mediterranean.
Shortly after taking office in January, Biden understood that the 1915 massacre of Armenians was genocide and he stepped up criticism of Turkey’s human rights record, adopting a cooler tone towards Erdogan than his predecessor Donald Trump. Biden had in April put a call through to Erdogan. He gave notice that he planned to describe the World War One massacres of Armenians by the Ottoman Empire, the forerunner of modern Turkey, as genocide.
White House national security adviser; Jake Sullivan said the two leaders, who are attending a NATO summit in Brussels, would also touch on Afghanistan, Libya, and China during their first direct encounter since Biden became president.
“They will talk about political and economic issues that are more challenging … that have been challenging in our relationship, including human rights-related issues,” Sullivan told reporters on arriving in Brussels late on Sunday.
Erdogan said on leaving Turkey the same evening that he expected an “unconditional approach” from Biden to move on from past troubles.
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“Turkey is not just any country, it is an allied country. We are two NATO allies,” he told reporters.
“There are many issues regarding the defense industry that were left on the table. The most important one of these is the F-35 issue,” Erdogan said of Washington’s decision to remove Turkey from a fighter jet program.
One area where Erdogan hopes to showcase a central Turkish role in the NATO alliance is in Afghanistan, where Turkey has offered to guard and operate Kabul airport to secure access to the country after the U.S.-prompted NATO withdrawal.
But with so many points of contention, hopes for any substantial breakthrough in the strained relationship are slim.
“While both sides are expected to pursue some pragmatic engagement and neither is interested in a showdown, the meeting will not provide Erdogan with any meaningful dividend,” consultancy Teneo said in a note ahead of the talks.
“None of the major friction points will be solved, meaning that U.S.-Turkey ties will continue to be fraught with difficulties and characterized by a frosty tone.”
Friendship requires both sides to make it work. Do you think President Biden and Erdogan’s meeting can bring about a positive change? Kindly drop your comments.