Erdogan discusses Russian missiles with Biden
The Turkish president meets separately with his American and French counterparts on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Brussels and discusses with them several files.
Erdogan and Biden have a "productive meeting"
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said, after his first meeting with his US counterpart Joe Biden, that they discussed Ankara's purchase of the Russian S-400 defense system, as well as the F-35 program, which was causing strained relations between the two countries.
At a press conference on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Brussels, Erdogan confirmed that the meeting with Biden "fruitful and sincere," adding that "the US president told him that he might visit Turkey."
“We believe there is no problem that cannot be resolved in Turkey-US relations,” Erdogan added after holding his first meeting with Biden since his election.
Erdogan and Macron make Progress
In a related context, Erdogan met his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron in Brussels in a meeting during which they pledged to "work together" on the Libya and Syria files, according to Macron.
After a closed bilateral meeting with Erdogan that lasted 45 minutes at NATO headquarters on the sidelines of the alliance summit, Macron stressed the importance of "making progress" on all contentious issues, and considered that this meeting was "calm", "clarified matters" and focused on "concrete work on humanitarian issues in Syria and Libya."
"Given the challenges," the French president continued, "we both stressed the importance of making every effort to work together."
Macron stressed that the conflict files in Libya, France, and Turkey will "work together" in the "coming weeks" to "exit mercenaries and militias who came from abroad and are still present on Libyan soil, as soon as possible."
The two parties reached a "clear rapprochement" to "protect the ceasefire" and hold elections on December 24th to "support" the national unity government, which was formed under the auspices of the United Nations.
Fabien Azoulay's Case
The two presidents discussed Fabien Azoulay's case, a Frenchman sentenced to 16 years in prison for drug possession in Turkey2017. Macron announced progress on the process of "quick transfer" to France "as soon as possible."
During the meeting, Macron provided "clarifications" about "Islam in France", an issue that caused "attacks" last year on a part of Turkey and other Muslim countries.
Macron made it clear to Erdogan that France does not seek to attack any religion, but rather to "strengthen the fight against extremist groups that exploit" Islam.
In recent months, tensions between the two men subsided after relations deteriorated between them in 2020, especially when Erdogan questioned his French counterpart's mental health.
The dispute in the eastern Mediterranean contributed to the exacerbation of differences between the two countries. Paris supports Athens in the face of Turkish gas exploration operations in disputed waters, during a period of tension that witnessed an accident between two Turkish and French ships in June 2020.
Earlier in the evening, a Greek government official said that Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had reached an understanding on Monday, not to repeat last year's confrontation, that drove the two countries to "the brink of armed conflict."
"The atmosphere was good ... a mutual understanding was reached regarding tensions of 2020, which should not be repeated in 2021," the official said after a meeting between the two leaders on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Brussels.