ISTANBUL: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated on Tuesday he would meet US President Joe Biden on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Madrid for talks on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the bloc’s growth into two Nordic states.
Analysts imagine the assembly might play an important position in breaking down Turkey’s resistance to bids by Sweden and Finland to affix the Western defence alliance in response to the conflict.
The 2 leaders have had a cold relationship since Biden’s election due to US issues about human rights beneath Erdogan.
Biden and Erdogan final met briefly in October on the sidelines of a G20 summit in Rome.
“We spoke with Mr Biden this morning and he expressed his want to get collectively tonight or tomorrow. We stated it was potential,” Erdogan stated.
He was chatting with reporters earlier than flying to Madrid for talks that can begin along with his assembly with the leaders of the 2 Nordic international locations and the NATO secretary common.
Erdogan stated he wished to see the outcomes of preparatory talks held on Monday in Brussels earlier than deciding whether or not Sweden and Finland had carried out sufficient to carry his objections to their membership of the army alliance.
Turkey is a NATO member and will veto each international locations’ purposes on the summit.
“We’re a 70-year-old member of NATO. Turkey is just not a rustic that randomly joined NATO,” Erdogan stated.
“We are going to see what level they (Finland and Sweden) have reached,” he added. “We don’t want empty phrases. We wish outcomes.”
Ankara has accused Finland and extra significantly Sweden of providing a secure haven to Kurdish militants who’ve been been waging decades-long insurgency in opposition to the Turkish state.
The Turkish chief has additionally known as on the 2 international locations to carry arms embargoes imposed on Turkey in 2019 over Ankara’s army offensive in Syria.
The 2 international locations went into the NATO assembly open to the likelihood that Turkey may solely carry its objections after the summit concludes on Thursday.
“We now have made progress. That’s positively the case,” stated Swedish International Minister Ann Linde.
“We’re ready for one thing constructive to occur at this time, but in addition for it to take extra time,” she added. “We have to be affected person and proceed discussions even after the summit.”
Finnish President Sauli Niinisto stated that he was neither “optimistic nor pessimistic at this stage”.
“We are going to go into this afternoon’s dialogue with Erdogan with an open thoughts,” he advised Finnish media.
Erdogan’s capability to keep up a detailed working relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin whereas supporting Ukraine’s conflict effort has made him an essential participant within the battle.
However these ties have additionally sophisticated his relations with Biden and the NATO bloc.
Washington has sanctioned Ankara for taking supply of a complicated Russian missile defence system in 2019.
The acquisition noticed the US drop Turkey from the F-35 joint strike fighter programme and impose commerce restrictions on its army procurement company.
However Washington has signalled that it might be prepared to maneuver previous the dispute.
Biden’s administration has dangled the potential for supplying Ankara with older-generation F-16 jets that would replenish Turkey’s ageing air power fleet.
“Crucial difficulty is the F-16 difficulty. It’s nonetheless on the desk,” Erdogan stated of his upcoming talks with Biden.