Turkey has not been invited to an online summit that will be hosted by US President Joe Biden Dec. 9-10, according to a list of invited governments obtained by Politico.
Although the US administration has not made any statement about the list of invitees, Politico said countries such as Turkey and Hungary have not been invited because their leaders have been undermining their democratic systems for years.
The Summit for Democracy will bring together leaders from government, civil society and the private sector to set forth an affirmative agenda for democratic renewal and to tackle the greatest threats faced by democracies today through collective action.
An international alliance to promote Internet freedom, called “The Alliance for the Future of the Internet,” is one of the initiatives the Biden team is considering launching during the summit, according to documents obtained by Politico.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who met with Biden on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Rome on Oct. 31, said in September he felt that relations with Biden had “not gotten off to a good start” since the latter’s arrival in the White House.
Biden has made a point of highlighting Turkey’s deteriorating record on human rights — an issue that was largely overlooked by his predecessor Donald Trump.
It took him three full months after his inauguration to place his first call to Erdoğan.
That was to inform him that Washington was recognizing the Armenian genocide by the Ottoman Empire during World War I.
Relations between the US and Turkey, two NATO allies, took a nosedive after Turkey’s purchase of a Russian S-400 missile defense system that the US believes can be used to spy on Western defenses. Washington imposed sanctions on Turkey’s military procurement agency for the purchase last year. It also expelled Turkey from the F-35 program under which Western allies produce the next-generation fighter jet’s parts and secure its early purchasing rights.
Steven A. Cook, an expert on the Middle East and Africa, who commented on Friday about Turkey’s absence on the list of the invited governments for the Summit for Democracy, tweeted: “I suspect it is going to chafe Turkish officials that Israel, Iraq, Greece, and the Republic of Cyprus are on the invitation list, but not Turkey. Perhaps another visit to Sochi?”
He was referring to a recent visit paid by Erdoğan to his ally Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Black Sea resort of Sochi in September.