Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan didn't bring up Ankara's discontent with U.S. President Joe Biden's recognition of the mass killings of Armenians under the Ottoman Empire as genocide to mend ties with Washington, Alan Makovsky, a senior fellow for national security and international policy at the Center for American Progress, said.
Speaking to Voice of America's Turkish service, Makovsky said that Erdoğan's decision to not discuss the issue during the leaders' meeting on June 14 was a significant indicator of Ankara's will to repair the strained ties between the NATO allies.
"Of course, it couldn't have been expected for Biden to bring up this issue. It was Erdoğan who could do so. I think the fact that he didn't shows his interest in mending ties with the U.S.," Makovsky said.
Biden on April 24 recognized the 1915 killings as genocide, drawing a harsh rebuke from Ankara, which accepts that many Armenians living in the Ottoman Empire were killed in clashes with Ottoman forces during World War One, but contests the figures and denies the killings were systematically orchestrated and constitute a genocide.
Erdoğan on June 13 said that his delegation would bring up Biden's move during the leaders' meeting since "it seriously saddened Turkey."
"It's impossible for us to find it appropriate to not mention this in the meeting," the Turkish President said hours before his meeting with Biden in Brussels.
Surprisingly, Erdoğan made a completely different statement after his meeting with the U.S. President.
"It was never brought up," he said and laughed upon a journalist's question.
Makovsky also said that Erdoğan's overall softened discourse against the West stems from Turkey's current economic woes.
"Turkey's economy is tied to the West. Erdoğan's popularity largely depends on the economy. The equation is that simple. There has been a decrease in Erdoğan's popularity, so he needs to mend ties with the West in order to bring Western investors to Turkey," Makovsky noted.