By. Justin Mays
At a Sunday news conference before he left for the NATO conference in Brussels Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan dismissed “rumors” about the state of the U.S.-Turkey relationship and suggesting that they “leave all these behind and speak about what we can do together.” It was on this optimistic note that he met with American President Joe Biden on the sidelines of the NATO Leaders Summit on June 14. The last time the two leaders met was during a vice-presidential visit to Ankara in 2016. Turkey is an important strategic partner with the second largest military in NATO and strategic geographic location between Asia and Europe.
Their bilateral meeting lasted 45 minutes, after which Turkish and U.S. delegations held a joint meeting. Potential areas of cooperation and resolving differing political views were expected to dominate the talks including regional conflicts in Syria, Afghanistan, the Eastern Mediterranean. Biden’s meeting with Erdogan is the only one-on-one listed on his NATO summit schedule. Despite recent tension between the two countries the NATO allies both expressed hope for a beginning to a new era and following their crucial meeting confirmed their willingness to increase cooperation.
"In our meeting with Mr. Biden, we constructively handled issues that we differ as well as areas of cooperation. We agreed to keep Turkey - U.S. dialogue channels open just like how strategic partners and allies do…We are going to increase our cooperation with the U.S. There is no problem between us that cannot be solved." President Erdogan said late Monday after the closed-door meeting.
Biden said the meeting with President Erdogan was "positive."
"Our two countries have big agendas. Our teams will continue discussions and I'm confident we will make real progress between U.S. and Turkey."