Biden to confront Erdoğan on Turkey, US differences next week

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said that U.S. President Biden will confront Erdoğan on the differences between the U.S. and Turkey during their meeting on June 14. "Our differences with Turkey are no secret," Blinken said.

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U.S. President Joe Biden will confront Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan during their meeting on June 14, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on June 8. 

Responding to a question by Senator Bob Menendez during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing, Blinken said that the differences between Turkey and the U.S. "are no secret." 

Blinken told Congress on that Turkey is often "not acting as the NATO ally it should be," but Washington has "an interest in trying to keep Turkey anchored to the West."

Erdoğan and Biden are set to meet on the sidelines of a NATO summit in Brussels on June 14.

Ankara and Washington have been struggling to repair ties, strained in recent years over several issues, including Turkey's purchase of Russian defense systems which resulted in U.S. sanctions, policy differences in Syria, as well as Washington's alarm over Ankara's human rights track record.

The two NATO allies also have differing views in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict as well as Ankara's oil and gas ambitions in the eastern Mediterranean while Turkey's potential role in Afghanistan in the aftermath of planned U.S. pullout could serve as an area of cooperation. 

Blinken on June 8 said that the U.S. has serious concerns on Turkey's human rights record, mainly the "treatment of journalists." 

"The president can have an opportunity to engage with President Erdoğan directly on all of these issues. I will say we also have an interest in trying to keep Turkey anchored to the West and aligned on other critical issues," Blinken said. 

"We do have important and open interests in Syria when it comes to counterterrorism, in Afghanistan, dealıng wıth some of Russia and Iran's maligned influence, but we also have to confront directly these differences that you spotlighted," he told Menendez, who argued that Turkey “is constantly violating international law when it threatens Cyprus and its exclusive economic zone, when it declares an economic zone going to Libya that is not recognized at all but interferes with Greece’s economic zone.”