Advisors to the U.S. and Turkish presidents discussed bilateral relations

Advisors to the U.S. and Turkish presidents discussed bilateral relations

One of the topics of conversation between Ibrahim Kalin and Jake Sullivan was Turkey’s purchase of Russian S-400 systems

Chief advisers to Turkish and U.S. Presidents Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Joe Biden have held a telephone conversation, the first official contact between the two countries since Biden took office nearly two weeks ago.

Erdogan’s chief foreign policy adviser Ibrahim Kalin and U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan discussed issues related to Syria, Libya, the eastern Mediterranean, Cyprus and Nagorno-Karabakh, Turkey’s official Anadolu news agency reported.

Kalin told Sullivan that joint efforts were needed to resolve current differences between the two countries, including Turkey’s purchase of Russian S-400 air defense systems and U.S. support for Kurdish militia groups in northern Syria, Anadolu news agency reported.

In a statement, the White House said Sullivan emphasized the Biden administration’s desire to build “constructive” U.S.-Turkish relations, but also touched on friction topics.

Sullivan “conveyed the administration’s intention to strengthen transatlantic security through NATO, expressing concern that Turkey’s purchase of Russian S-400 surface-to-air missile systems undermines the integrity and effectiveness of the alliance,” National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horn said.

Washington considers the S-400 systems a threat to its F-35 stealth fighters and NATO’s broader defense systems. Turkey rejects this, arguing that the S-400s will not be integrated into NATO. Ankara has offered to form a joint working group to examine these claims.