Foreign Minister Mevlüt avuşolu said late Wednesday that Turkey is looking forwards to the next meeting between President Recep Tayyip Erdoan and his US colleague Joe Biden, and that Ankara has received similar upbeat signals from Washington.
In an interview with Turkish official television TRT Haber, avuşolu also stated that the US wants to work with Turkey not just on Libya and Syria, but also in many other areas ranging from the Mediterranean to the Black Sea and Caucasus.
A face-to-face meeting between two leaders is scheduled to take place on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Brussels on June 14.
He also talked about Turkey’s purchase of air defense systems, underlining that “If the U.S. does not guarantee Patriot, we can get air defense system from our other allies.”
“I believe that our meeting with Mr. Biden at the NATO summit will be the harbinger of a new era,” Erdoğan said in a televised address while holding a roundtable call with a group of executives from large U.S. companies.
Erdoan and Biden agreed to meet on the fringes of a NATO conference last month in their first phone chat since the American president took office in January.
Ties between NATO members Turkey and the United States were severely strained in 2019 as a result of Ankara’s procurement of Russia’s powerful S-400 air defence system, causing Washington to remove Turkey from its F-35 Lightning II aircraft programme.
The US stated that the technology might be used by Russia to get confidential information on Lockheed Martin F-35 fighters in a clandestine manner and that it is incompatible with NATO systems. Turkey, on the other hand, believes that the S-400 will not be integrated into NATO systems and would thus not constitute a danger to the alliance.
Washington imposed penalties on Turkey over the acquisition in December. It was the first time a NATO member country was sanctioned for purchasing Russian armaments.
The Russian-made S-300 system, on the other hand, has been sold to 20 nations, including NATO members Bulgaria, Greece, and Slovakia. The S-300 system, which was completed in 1978, is designed to protect against short- and medium-range air strikes and is regarded as one of the most formidable air defence systems in the world. Greece reached an agreement with Russia in 1996 to acquire S-300s for deployment on Greek Cypriot territories. Due to Turkish pressure, these missiles could not be placed in southern Cyprus, but they were deployed in Crete in 1998, whose strategic relevance has been progressively increasing. Greece signed new agreements with Russia in 1999 and 2004 to purchase TOR-M1 and OSA-AKM (SA-8B) medium- and low-altitude air defense systems. These Russian-made air defense systems are currently an integrated part of the air defense system of Greece and have also been deployed by the Greek Cypriot administration.