Erdogan Aims to Focus on Future Cooperation in Talks With Biden

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his first talks with Joe Biden as U.S. president on Monday should focus on future cooperation between the allies and how to leave behind rifts that have strained relations.

The U.S. and Turkish leaders will discuss military matters in the meeting in Brussels, where NATO allies are holding a summit, Erdogan said. Turkey could help protect Kabul airport once U.S. troops withdraw from Afghanistan, but wants its financial and security support.

Years of policy grievances and some personal history will hang over Monday’s meeting between the leaders, with expectations limited to trust-building cooperation rather than a breakthrough in ties.

Erdogan Aims to Focus on Future Cooperation in Talks With Biden

Erdogan said he would discuss a broad range of issues with Biden, who he said saddened Turkey by labeling the killings of Armenians in Ottoman-era Turkey as “genocide” in April. The Turkish president didn’t signal any progress toward resolving a clash with the U.S. over Ankara’s purchase of Russian missile defenses. Instead, he criticized the U.S. for refusing to sell its Patriot missile defense system to Turkey and for suspending Turkey from the F-35 fighter program.

“There is an America that does not fulfill its covenant, does not abide by the contract,” Erdogan said. “We need to talk about what we can do,” to leave strains behind with Biden, he said, citing the F-35 issue as the most important topic.

Read more: Pentagon Nominees Commit to Cutting Turkey F-35 Parts Supplies

The U.S. worries that the S-400 could be used to collect intelligence on the stealth capabilities of the F-35 fighter jet that Turkey has helped to build and wants to purchase. Turkey has shown no signs it’s prepared to compromise on Washington’s main demand that Ankara scrap the Russian S-400 missiles in return for the lifting of U.S. sanctions related to the purchase.

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