White House expects Biden-Erdoğan meeting in Glasgow: official

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US President Joe Biden expects to meet with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on the sidelines of a UN climate summit in Glasgow next week, Agence France-Presse reported, citing National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan on Thursday.

“I anticipate he will meet with the president of Turkey in Glasgow,” he told reporters aboard Biden’s plane headed to Rome for an earlier G20 summit.

“I don’t have confirmation, but that’s the present expectation.”

Biden and his national security team will also have a chance to catch up with European allies on the state of attempts to get Iran back into negotiations on submitting its nuclear industry to international inspections, Sullivan said.

Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the international group managing the inspections deal, under which Iran was meant to have been rewarded with an eventual lifting of economic sanctions.

“We all have deep concerns about that program,” Sullivan said.

In Rome, the leaders of Britain, France, Germany and the United States will be “all singing from the same song sheet on this issue,” he said.

The Erdoğan meeting, which Turkish media on Wednesday quoted Erdoğan as saying was “likely” to happen in Glasgow, risks being less smooth for Biden.

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

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

Erdoğan, 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.

Biden is first attending a Group of 20 summit in Rome this weekend before going to Glasgow for the COP26 UN climate conference, which opens Sunday and runs to November 12.

Rocky relationship

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

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

Erdoğan 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.

The F-35 issue will be the most important topic in his meeting with Biden, Erdoğan said, adding that he would have a chance to directly confirm if Washington was willing to return the money through F-16 deliveries.

If so, he said, “we will have worked out an agreement.”

Any military sales would have to be approved by the US Congress, where anti-Turkish sentiment is strong because of Erdoğan ‘s record on human rights.

On Wednesday, US and Turkish military officials held talks in Ankara on winding up the cancelled F-35 stealth program.

The Pentagon said the officials met “to address remaining issues resulting from Turkey’s removal from the F-35 program, which was finalized on September 23.”

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