Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and US President Joe Biden met at the G-20 Leaders’ Summit in Rome, Italy, today (31 October). The interview, which was expected to last 20 minutes, lasted about 1 hour and 10 minutes. The meeting covered S-400s, Syria and Afghanistan, as well as elections in Libya. Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and his US counterpart Anthony Blinken also attended
The day before the meeting, Reuters reported that according to an US official, Biden would warn Erdogan regarding ‘precipitous’ actions, and that a meeting between the two leaders might not have happened had Erdogan expelled the US ambassador.
“Do you plan to give Turkey F-16s?” asked a US journalist during a pre-interview photo shoot. Biden responded with, “We plan to have a good conversation.”
Reuters later reported that during the meeting in Rome, Biden told Erdogan that his request for F-16 fighter jets had to go through a process in the United States, and that he also raised the issue of human rights.
The White House published a written statement after the meeting between the two leaders.
“The leaders discussed the political process in Syria, the delivery of humanitarian assistance to Afghans in need, elections in Libya, the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean, and diplomatic efforts in the South Caucasus. President Biden reaffirmed our defense partnership and Turkey’s importance as a NATO Ally, but noted US concerns over Turkey’s possession of the Russian S-400 missile system. He also emphasized the importance of strong democratic institutions, respect for human rights, and the rule of law for peace and prosperity,” the White House statement said.
Meanwhile the Turkish presidency emphasised that the meeting ‘took place in a positive atmosphere.’
“Regional issues were discussed during the meeting, which took place in a positive atmosphere. The two leaders declared joint will to further strengthen and improve Turkey-U.S. relations and agreed to establish a common mechanism accordingly.” Turkish Presidency said in its offical Twitter account.
According to various commentators the Turkish government was waiting for permission from the US president to carry out operations against Northern Syria, and Erdogan is also expected to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin regarding the operations.
Biden and Erdogan first spoke on the telephone in April, and first met face-to-face in June, as part of the NATO Summit in Brussels, Belgium.