NATO member Turkey clashed with the United States in 2019 when it bought the S-400 anti-aircraft system from Russia. In response, the United States blocked Turkey’s purchase of 100 F-35 combat aircraft and prevented the country from further participating in the development of the new combat aircraft. So Erdogan is demanding reparations for the $1.4 billion (about 1.2 billion euros) Turkey has already paid for the planes.
The Turkish president also threatened, early this month, to expel the ambassadors of ten Western countries, including the United States and the Netherlands. The ambassadors had called for the release of businessman and philanthropist Osman Kavala, who is being held as a political prisoner in Turkey. Kavala is accused of financing the 2013 protests and being involved in a failed 2016 coup attempt. Erdogan believed embassies were interfering in internal affairs.
“President Biden reaffirmed our defense cooperation and the importance of Turkey as a NATO ally but also expressed concern that Turkey possesses the Russian S-400 missile system,” the White House said in a statement. He also stressed the importance of strong democratic institutions, respect for human rights and the rule of law, for peace and prosperity. The two presidents are said to have discussed human rights, Afghanistan, Syria, climate change and trade, among others.
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