image Photo: Reuters

Biden, Erdoğan to reportedly meet at G20

United States President Joe Biden will reportedly hold talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on the sidelines of the upcoming G20 Summit in Rome.

By Erin Viner

The conservative Turkish Habertürk (THT) broadcaster announced the slated meeting.

The next gathering of the intergovernmental “Group of Twenty” (known as the G20) is set for 30-31 October. The forum is attended by the leaders of 19 nations with the world’s largest economies and the European Union, to address major issues related to the international financial sphere.

Turkish President Erdoğan has been making the headlines in recent days, particularly over his insistence in purchasing Russia’s S-400 missile defense system over strong objections over the matter with NATO-ally the US.

Erdoğan told the CBS News’ “Face the Nation” televised program that Ankara will purchase yet another shipment of the S-400s. Insisting conditions to acquire the air defense systems from any NATO ally were unacceptable, he insisted that, “In the future nobody can interfere in terms of what kind of defense systems we acquire, from which country at what level.”

The US has long maintained that the S-400s pose threats to its F-35 fighter jets as well as broader NATO defense systems.

A State Department spokesperson responded that the US has “urged” Turkey “at every level and opportunity not to retain the S-400 system and to refrain from purchasing any additional Russian military equipment.” Citing the US 2017 Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, the spokesperson underscored, “We continue to make clear to Turkey that any significant new Russian arms purchases would risk triggering CAATSA 231 sanctions separate from and in addition to those imposed in December 2020.”

Turkey’s Defense Industry Directorate, its Head Ismail Demir and 3 staffers were targeted by US sanctions following its first procurement of the Russian system last year, and Washington has repeatedly warned that further deliveries will almost certainly spark new punitive economic measures.

The State Department nevertheless said that the US continues to regard Turkey as an ally and friend, while continuing to seek ways to strengthen the bilateral partnership “even when we disagree.”

Following his appearance at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York last week, THT reported that Erdoğan said, “I cannot say that a healthy process is running in Turkish-American ties” while calling on Washington to “sort out” the S-400 dispute.

He went on to express support for the two nations to engage in improved bilateral cooperation, while stressing “the current direction does not bode well” and that his relationship with US President Joe Biden had not “started off right.”