Turkey will take the initiative to secure Kabul airport after the departure of US troops, agree Biden and Erdoğan.
President Joe Biden and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan agreed during their meeting in Brussels this week that Turkey will play a leading role in securing Kabul airport as the United States withdraws its troops from Afghanistan, said a US official.
But the two leaders have been unable to resolve a long-standing dispute that has strained ties between Washington and Ankara over Turkey’s purchase of the Russian-made S-400 surface-to-air missile system. the manager said.
US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told reporters on Thursday that Biden and Erdoğan, at their June 14 NATO summit meeting, discussed the issue of Afghan airport security.
Erdoğan had asked for US support to help secure the airport and Biden has pledged to provide that support, Sullivan said, Reuters news agency reported.
“The clear leadership commitment has been established that Turkey will play a leading role in securing Hamid Karzai International Airport and we are now working on how to execute to achieve this,” Sullivan said.
Sullivan’s remarks offer the first details of the US side of the meeting between Biden and Erdoğan who told the US president Ankara will not change position on the Russian S-400 missile system.
Ankara’s purchase of Russian anti-aircraft weapons hampered US plans to sell the F-35 forward combat fighter to Turkey. Washington has withdrew Ankara from the F-35 fighter program and imposed sanctions.
“I said [Biden] that they shouldn’t expect Turkey to take a different step on the F-35 and S-400 issues because we did what we had to do with the F-35s and gave the necessary money Erdoğan told reporters on a flight home from Azerbaijan on Thursday.
“We need to monitor the situation closely. We will respect all of our rights, ”he said.
Turkey and the United States disagree on a host of other issues, including political differences in Syria and the Eastern Mediterranean.
The two leaders appeared optimistic after their meeting, although they did not announce the concrete progress they had made. One potential area for cooperation has been Afghanistan, where Ankara has offered to keep and operate Kabul Airport after the withdrawal of US and NATO forces in the coming weeks.
Airport security is critical to the functioning of diplomatic missions in Afghanistan as Western forces withdraw.
Last week, a Taliban spokesperson said Turkey should withdraw its troops from Afghanistan as part of the 2020 agreement for the withdrawal of US forces, but Sullivan said the Taliban’s comments had not deterred the “detailed and effective” security plan the United States is coming together.
“Obviously, we take seriously the fear that the Taliban or other elements in Afghanistan will attack the Western or international presence… We do not believe that what the Taliban have said publicly should or will deter ongoing efforts. right now to establish that security presence, ”Sullivan said.
As president, Biden adopted a colder tone than his predecessor Donald Trump towards Erdoğan. Biden quickly recognized the 1915 massacre of Armenians as genocide, and Biden stepped up his criticism of Turkey’s human rights record.
It was not clear whether Biden raised the human rights issue with Erdoğan during his meeting and Sullivan provided few details on how, if at all, the dead end on the S-400 would be solved.
“They discussed it. There was no resolution to the problem. There was a commitment to continue the dialogue on the S-400 and the two teams will follow what emerges from the meeting, ”he said.