Erdoğan says Biden meeting could start new era
Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Wednesday he hoped his first meeting with US President Joe Biden next month will be the “harbinger of a new era” after a year of disputes, Agence France-Presse reported.
The Turkish president has been trying to repair ties with Western allies and regional rivals following a series of international disputes that left him isolated while grappling with the economic shock of the coronavirus pandemic.
Biden has made a point of highlighting Turkey’s dire record on human rights since he replaced Erdoğan ally Donald Trump in the White House in January.
Biden waited for three months before calling Erdoğan for the first time on the eve of his historic decision to recognize the Armenian genocide by the Ottoman Empire during World War I.
The two then agreed to meet on the sidelines of a NATO summit in Brussels on June 14.
“I believe our meeting with Mr. Biden at the NATO summit will be the harbinger of a new era,” Erdoğan said in a televised address.
“We value our alliance with the US.”
Ankara’s relations with Washington have suffered from Turkey’s purchase of a Russian missile defense system that NATO fears can gather intelligence on its military hardware.
Washington has sanctioned Turkey’s main military procurement agency over the purchase — the first time a NATO member state has been punished for buying Russian arms.
But Erdoğan is keen to bring new Western investments into Turkey that could help revive the economy and create jobs.
Erdoğan told a group of US business executives on Wednesday that he wanted to bring the annual volume of trade between the two countries up to $100 million.