Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Wednesday he hoped his first meeting with US President Joe Biden next month will be “harbinger of a new era” after a year of disputes.
The Turkish president has been trying to mend ties with Western allies and regional rivals following a string of international disputes that left him isolated while grappling with the economic shock of the coronavirus pandemic.
Biden has made a point of highlighting Turkey’s dire record on human rights after he replaced Erdogan’s ally Donald Trump in the White House in January.
Biden waited for three months before calling Erdogan for the first time on the eve of his historic decision to recognise the Armenian genocide by the Ottoman empire during World War I.
The two then agreed to meet on the sidelines of a NATO summit in Brussels on June 14.
“I believe that our meeting with Mr Biden at the Nato summit will be the harbinger of a new era,” Erdogan said in a televised address.
“We value our alliance with the US.”
Ankara’s relations with Washington have suffered from Turkey’s purchase of a Russian missile defence system that NATO fears can gather intelligence on its military hardware.
Washington has sanctioned Turkey’s main military procurement agency over the purchase — the first time a NATO member state has been punished for buying Russian arms.
But Erdogan is keen to bring new Western investments into Turkey that could help revive the economy and create jobs.
Erdogan told a group of US business executives on Wednesday that he wanted to bring the annual volume of trade between the two countries up to $100 million.