Turk President Tayyip Erdogan offers an olive branch to the United States by saying that their common interests outweigh their differences, softening the hard stance he had taken in the past.
“We believe our common interests with the United States far outweigh our differences in opinion,” Erdogan said in televised comments.
He hinted that Ankara wanted to strengthen cooperation through “a long-term perspective on a win-win basis.”
“Turkey will continue to do its part in a manner worthy of the allied and strategic partnership ties between the two countries,” he said.
Erdogan remarks came after Biden administration showed signs of a rapprochement after former president Donald Trump’s hardline approach. US national security adviser Jake Sullivan made a phone call to Erdogan’s foreign policy adviser Ibrahim Kalin earlier this month, the first official contact after Biden took office. Kalin told Sullivan that the S-400 dispute should be resolved.
Meanwhile, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken also discussed the Russian S-400 defence system dispute and other disagreements during their first call.
Turkey has hired a Washington-based law firm to lobby for its readmission into the F-35 jet programme, where it was a buyer and manufacturer, after it was removed by the United States over the S-400s. Ankara rejects Washington’s claim that the defence systems poses a threat to the F-35s.
Ties between the NATO allies have been strained over a host of issues. In December, the US sanctioned Turkey for its purchase of S-400 defence systems, while US support for the Kurdish YPG militia in Syria, which it considers a terrorist organisation, angered Ankara.
Turkey has called on Washington to end its support for the YPG and accused it of siding with militants who executed 13 Turks in northern Iraq earlier this month. The US, however, has criticised Ankara over rights and freedoms.