Middle East

Turkish official describes first contact with Biden administration as ‘optimistic’

The US and Turkey agreed to work in the direction of establishing “robust” bilateral relations on Tuesday, in the course of the first contact between Washington and Ankara – a fortnight after the inauguration of President Joe Biden.

US Nationwide Safety Advisor Jake Sullivan and Turkish President Ibrahim Kalin spokesman held an hour-long telephone name throughout which they mentioned bilateral and regional points, together with the conflicts in Syria and Libya, the dispute between Turkey and Greece within the japanese Mediterranean, Cyprus Azerbaijan’s struggle with Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh.

An announcement issued by the Turkish presidency stated the 2 sides agreed to keep up shut contact and use mechanisms for dialogue.

“It was expressed {that a} joint effort was wanted to resolve points with a brand new perspective in areas of disagreement between the 2 international locations, such because the S-400, F-35 and YPG,” the assertion stated.

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Turkey acquired Russian-made S-400 missile protection programs final yr, regardless of warnings from the US and NATO that the acquisition would see Ankara ejected from the F-35 stealth fighter program and doubtlessly uncovered. to damaging sanctions.

Washington has already suspended Turkey from the F-35 program, stopping it from buying the superior jets and manufacturing one among its elements.

The 2 international locations are additionally at odds over the YPG, a bunch Ankara sees as an extension of the legally banned Kurdistan Employees’ Social gathering (PKK), which has been waging an insurgency in opposition to the Turkish state since 1984.

The PKK is blacklisted as a terrorist group by Ankara and its Western allies.

In a short assertion, NSC spokeswoman Emily Horne stated Sullivan had expressed Washington’s concern that “Turkey’s acquisition of the Russian S-400 surface-to-air missile system is undermining cohesion and ‘effectiveness of the alliance “.

The telephone name was outstanding because the Turkish authorities was one of many final allies of the US to congratulate Biden on his election victory in November. In return, Biden gave a cold shoulder at Erdogan’s request for a congratulatory name earlier than taking workplace final month.

Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken had prevented making telephone calls with their Turkish counterparts because the inauguration.

Strengthen US-Turkish relations

A Turkish official, talking on situation of anonymity, instructed Center East Eye that Sullivan and Kalin made a “optimistic” and complete attraction.

“They agreed to reduce disagreements on bilateral and regional points and strengthen widespread pursuits and perspective,” the official stated. “Sullivan recalled [Kalin] that Biden had visited Turkey 4 occasions up to now and is aware of Erdogan effectively. He additionally expressed Biden’s willingness to work carefully with Erdogan. “

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The official added that Sullivan was conscious of the significance of Turkey. “Kalin and Sullivan will likely be in shut contact and can schedule a telephone name between Erdogan and Biden within the coming days,” the official stated.

The telephone name got here as a aid to Turkish officers who had been involved in regards to the path the brand new administration would possibly take.

Final week, a telephone name learn by the White Home described “China and Turkey” as a mutual concern for the US and the European Union.

Sullivan had beforehand known as on Washington to take a troublesome stance on Turkey on its Syrian coverage.

Biden additionally had his personal points with Erdogan, significantly when Turkey staged an October 2019 offensive in opposition to US-backed Kurds in Syria.

“Turkey is the true drawback right here,” Biden stated on the time, throughout a Democratic Social gathering televised debate. “And I might have an actual lockdown dialog with Erdogan and let him know he’ll pay a heavy worth for what he is finished now.” Pay that worth.

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