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Erdoğan, Biden to meet at NATO summit: Ankara

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will meet US counterpart Joe Biden on the sidelines of the upcoming NATO summit in Lithuania, Agence France-Presse reported, citing the Turkish presidency on Sunday.

The talks will focus on “Ukraine’s position in NATO, Sweden’s NATO membership, and the delivery of F-16” fighter jets, which Turkey hopes to secure from the United States, Erdoğan’s office said.

The statement did not say when the meeting will be held.

The two-day summit starting Tuesday will be preceded by talks Monday between Erdoğan and Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson, organized by NATO.

Kristersson will hope to convince Erdoğan to lift Turkey’s objections to Sweden becoming the 32nd member of the US-led defense organization.

Erdoğan’s office said it was “not correct” to link Turkey’s desire to acquire US fighter jets, which need congressional approval, with Sweden’s membership drive.

Biden himself linked the two issues in a call he placed to Erdoğan after the Turkish leader’s May 28 re-election.

Erdoğan “still wants to work on something on the F-16s. I told him we wanted a deal with Sweden, so let’s get that done,” Biden told reporters in a press conference after the call.

Erdoğan also reaffirmed his longstanding position Sunday that Sweden still needed to crack down harder on suspected Kurdish militants and political dissidents to win Turkey’s support.

“Sweden has taken some steps in the right direction by making changes to its anti-terrorism legislation,” the statement quoted him telling Biden.

But Erdoğan repeated that Sweden’s decision to allow pro-Kurdish groups to stage demonstrations in Stockholm “nullifies” these steps.

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