US, EU, NATO congratulate Turkey’s Erdogan, stress importance of ‘working together’
US President Joe Biden, NATO Secretary General, and EU Commission President congratulated Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on his re-election on Sunday, all while expressing the hope to “work together”.
Biden said on Twitter: “Congratulations to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey on his re-election. I look forward to continuing to work together as NATO Allies on bilateral issues and shared global challenges.”
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg tweeted: “Congratulations President Erdogan on your re-election. I look forward to continuing our work together and preparing for the NATO summit in July.”
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said: “I congratulate Erdogan on winning the elections. I look forward to continue building the EU-Turkey relationship. It is of strategic importance for both the EU and Turkey to work on advancing this relationship, for the benefit of our people.”
Erdogan accomplished an unprecedented feat on Sunday, winning the runoff election and securing his third term as president of Turkey extending his rule into a third decade.
Under his leadership, tensions dramatically built between Turkey on one hand and the US, EU and NATO on the other. Erdogan had increasingly in past years employed a more assertive foreign policy aimed at increasing Turkey's influence in its region and beyond.
Turkey-NATO tensions heightened as some of Ankara’s international policies clashed with the interests of the alliance, as exemplified by the contentious acquisition of the Russian S-400 missile defense system. Ankara’s purchase of the Russian S-400 has been a point of contention with the US and NATO for years, as they cited concerns that it would compromise the security and interoperability of NATO's military operations. The US and NATO have warned Turkey that the S-400 system is not compatible with NATO's defense systems and could expose sensitive information to Russia.
As a result of Turkey's refusal to back down from the deal, the US has taken several punitive measures, including suspending Turkey from the F-35 fighter jet program in 2019 and imposing sanctions on Turkish officials and entities involved in the purchase of the S-400.
Meanwhile, both EU and NATO members expressed deep concern over Erdogan’s domestic policies. Accusations of democratic backsliding, media censorship, and human rights abuses have prompted criticism from Turkey's Western allies, who view these actions as divergent from the shared values of NATO and the EU.