President Joe Biden expressed US concerns over Turkey’s possession of the Russian S-400 missile system during his meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday, according to a statement released by the White House.
President Biden expressed Turkey’s importance as a NATO ally, noting that it was concerned about the country’s possession of the S-400 missile system.
Biden made it clear to Erdogan that the US had to go through a process with regards to the F-16 request, Reuters reported on Sunday, citing a US official.
“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,” the statement read.
Biden also underscored his desire to maintain constructive ties with Turkey and to expand their areas of cooperation and manage disagreements in an effective manner.
The leaders met amid tensions between the two countries over defense and human rights issues.
A different US administration official said on Saturday that Biden would warn his Turkish counterpart that any “precipitous” actions would not benefit US-
Turkish relations and that crises should be avoided after Erdogan threatened to throw out the US ambassador to Turkey and other foreign envoys for seeking the release of jailed philanthropist Osman Kavala.
Erdogan later withdrew his threat to expel the envoys.
“He also emphasized the importance of strong democratic institutions, respect for human rights, and the rule of law for peace and prosperity,” the statement read.
“The president took on board his ... desire to have them but made very clear that there is a process that we have to go through in the US and committed to continuing to ... work through that process,” the senior administration official said.
Biden and Erdogan posed for photos before their talks on Sunday. Asked if he planned to give Turkey F-16s, Biden said they were “planning to have a good conversation.”