Top advisers for Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and US President Joe Biden have held talks, marking the first official contact between the two countries since Biden took office.
Turkey’s official news agency on Tuesday February 2, 2021, reported, “Erdogan’s Chief Foreign Policy Adviser Ibrahim Kalin and US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan discussed issues regarding Syria, Libya, the eastern Mediterranean, Cyprus and Nagorno-Karabakh.”
Kalin told Sullivan that joint efforts were needed to find a solution to present disagreements between the countries such as Turkey’s purchase of Russian S-400 defense systems, and the United States’ support for Kurdish militia groups in northern Syria.
In December, Washington imposed long-anticipated sanctions on Ankara over its acquisition of the Russian-made S-400 defense systems, a move Turkey called a “grave mistake”. It also removed Turkey, a NATO ally, from its F-35 fighter jet program as a result.
Washington says the S-400s pose a threat to its F-35 fighter jets and to NATO’s broader defense systems. Turkey rejects this, saying S-400s will not be integrated into NATO, and has offered to form a joint working group to examine the conflicting claims.
Ankara says its purchase of the S-400s was not a choice, but rather a necessity as it was unable to procure missile defenses from other NATO allies with satisfactory conditions.