Fresh from handing Joe Biden a diplomatic victory by easing Sweden’s path into NATO, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan wished the US president good luck in his 2024 re-election campaign.
“Now, you are getting prepared for the forthcoming elections,” Erdogan told Biden when the two met on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Lithuania.
“And with the forthcoming elections, I would also like to take this opportunity to wish you the best of luck.”
Biden, laughing, responded: “Thank you ... I look forward to meeting with you in the next five years.”
The breezy exchange, witnessed by reporters, marked a turn in the sometimes tense relations between the two NATO allies as Erdogan dropped his opposition to Sweden’s bid to join the military alliance as part of a series of steps that have pleased the US and upset Russia.
The 80-year-old Democrat is seeking a second, four-year term in the November 2024 presidential election. Biden wants to make stewardship of international alliances a part of his campaign platform.
The Republican front-runner in the race, former President Donald Trump, displayed admiration for Erdogan and other authoritarian leaders during his term in office but also occasionally differed with Turkish foreign policy.
Erdogan narrowly won re-election to a five-year term in May, extending two decades in power.