W.House expects Biden-Erdogan meeting in Glasgow: official

W.House expects Biden-Erdogan meeting in Glasgow: official
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A top Washington official said US President Joe Biden and Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan are scheduled to meet on the sidelines of a UN climate summit in Glasgow next week.
The two leaders are expected to meet in Glasgow [Getty]

US President Joe Biden expects to meet with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the sidelines of a UN climate summit in Glasgow next week, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said Thursday.

"I anticipate he will meet with the president of Turkey in Glasgow," he told reporters aboard Biden's plane headed to Rome for an earlier G20 summit. 

"I don't have confirmation, but that's the present expectation."

Erdogan had also confirmed the penciled-in meeting, saying, "we are likely to meet in Glasgow instead of Rome," Turkish media reported Wednesday.

"The agenda for Rome and Glasgow appears to have changed," Erdogan was quoted as saying.

The meeting, which would be the two leaders' second since Biden was elected president, comes with Turkey seeking $1.4 billion in compensation after Washington kicked the NATO ally out of its F-35 fighter jet program for buying a Russian missile defence system.

The meeting would also come on the heels of a new diplomatic spat that saw Erdogan threaten to expel ambassadors from the United States and nine other Western nations over their support for a jailed Turkish civil society leader.

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Erdogan, who accused the envoys of meddling in Turkey's affairs, walked back the threat after the embassies issued statements pledging to stay out of Turkey's domestic affairs.

Biden is first attending a G20 summit in Rome this weekend before going to Glasgow for the COP26 UN climate conference, which opens Sunday and runs to November 12.

Rocky relationship

Erdogan has had a rocky relationship with Biden, whom he last met on the sidelines of a NATO summit in Brussels in June.

Turkey's 2019 purchase of a Russian S-400 air defence system has been an irritant on ties, prompting Washington to block Ankara's plans to purchase about 100 next-generation US F-35 planes.

Erdogan has insisted on compensation, saying Washington could pay back at least part of the $1.4 billion advance payment Turkey made for the F-35s through the delivery of older-generation F-16 fighter jets. 

The F-35 issue will be the most important topic in his meeting with Biden, Erdogan said, adding that he would have a chance to directly confirm if Washington was willing to return the money through F-16 deliveries.

Read also: Turkey to deport Syrians for ‘banana-eating’ videos amid hostility to refugees

If so, he said, "we will have worked out an agreement."

Any military sales would have to be approved by the US Congress, where anti-Turkish sentiment is strong because of Erdogan's record on human rights.

On Wednesday, US and Turkish military officials held talks in Ankara on winding up the cancelled F-35 stealth program.

The Pentagon said the officials met in Ankara "to address remaining issues resulting from Turkey's removal from the F-35 program, which was finalised on September 23."