Turkey will take the lead in securing Kabul airport after the departure of US troops, Biden and Erdogan agree.
President Joe Biden and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan agreed when they met in Brussels this week that Turkey would take a leadership role in securing Kabul airport while the United States withdraws its troops. Afghanistan, said a U.S. official.
But the two leaders were 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 official said.
U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters Thursday that Biden and Erdoğan, at the June 14 meeting at the NATO summit, had discussed the issue of airport security. ‘Afghanistan.
Erdogan had asked for US support to protect the airport and Biden pledged to provide such support, Sullivan said, Reuters news agency reported.
“The clear commitment of the leaders was established that Turkey would play a key role in securing Hamid Karzai International Airport and we are now working on how to execute to achieve this,” Sullivan said.
Sullivan’s statements offer the first details of the American side of the meeting between Biden and Erdoğan that he told the American president Ankara will not change its stance in the Russian S-400 missile system.
The purchase of Russian anti-aircraft weapon Armara from Ankara has interfered with US plans to sell the advanced F-35 fighter jet advance to Turkey. Washington has done it removed Ankara from the F-35 fighter jet program and imposed sanctions.
“I said [Biden] that they should not expect Turkey to take a different step on the F-35 and S-400 issues because we did what we had to do for the F-35 and gave the necessary money, “Erdogan told reporters return flight from Azerbaijan Thursday.
“We have to monitor developments closely. We will monitor all our rights, “he said.
Turkey and the United States have disagreed on other issues, including political differences in Syria and the eastern Mediterranean.
The two leaders seemed optimistic after the meeting, although they did not announce the concrete progress they had made. One possible area of cooperation has been Afghanistan, where Ankara has offered to guard and operate Kabul airport following the withdrawal of US and NATO forces in the coming weeks.
Airport security is crucial to the operation of diplomatic missions in Afghanistan as Western forces withdraw.
Last week, a Taliban spokesman said Turkey should withdraw its troops of Afghanistan under the 2020 agreement for the withdrawal of U.S. forces, but Sullivan said Taliban comments did not deter the “detailed and effective” security plan the United States is coming together.
“Viouslybviament, we take seriously the concern 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 deter ongoing efforts now to establish this presence of security, ”Sullivan said.
As president, Biden has taken on a fresher tone than his predecessor Donald Trump towards Erdogan. Biden quickly acknowledged the 1915 Armenian massacre as genocide and Biden has intensified criticism of Turkey’s human rights record.
It was unclear whether Biden raised the human rights issue with Erdogan during his meeting and Sullivan provided few details on how, if any, impasse over the S-400 it would be resolved.
“It simply came to our notice then. The problem was not resolved. He pledged to continue the dialogue on the S-400 and the two teams will follow what comes out of the meeting, ”he said.