Top advisers to the presidents of Turkey and the United States, Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Joe Biden, held a telephone call that became the first official contact between the two countries since Biden took office almost two weeks ago.
Erdogan’s chief foreign policy adviser Ibrahim Kalin and US national security adviser Jake Sullivan discussed issues related to Syria, Libya, the eastern Mediterranean, Cyprus and Nagorno-Karabakh, Turkish official news agency Anadolu reported.
Kalin told Sullivan about the need for joint efforts to resolve current differences between the two countries, including Turkey’s purchase of Russian S-400 air defense systems and the United States’ support for Kurdish militias in northern Syria, Anadolu reported.
In a statement, the White House said that Sullivan highlighted the Biden administration’s desire for a “constructive” US-Turkish relationship, but also raised issues of friction.
Sullivan “conveyed the administration’s intention to enhance transatlantic security with NATO assistance, expressing concern that Turkey’s purchase of Russian S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems undermines the integrity and effectiveness of the alliance,” National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horn said.
Washington believes the S-400 systems pose a threat to its F-35 stealth fighters and broader NATO defense systems. Turkey rejects this, arguing that the S-400 will not be integrated into NATO. Ankara proposed to form a joint working group to study these statements.