Biden, Erdogan agreed on Afghanistan but S-400 issue is not resolved
14:33, 18 June 2021
Turkey would play a lead role in securing Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul after the United States withdraws troops from Afghanistan, as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and US President Joe Biden agreed in a meeting at the NATO summit in Brussels.
Biden committed that support would be forthcoming to the Taliban threat, as they previously warned Ankara that it would be considering any remaining foreign troops, including Turkey’s, to be occupying forces and will treat them accordingly.
"President Biden and President Erdogan had a detailed discussion of a potential Turkish mission to secure the airport once the Resolute Support Mission has ended. The President and President Erdogan agreed that they would work together to make this happen," US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said, according to the White House statement.
Biden assured Erdogan that the US takes seriously the concern that the Taliban or other elements in Afghanistan will attack diplomatic or security presence in and around Kabul, but the American side "does not believe what the Taliban has said publicly."
However, the two Presidents were not able to resolve the long-standing issue of Turkey's purchase of the Russian defense system S-400 participating in NATO, triggering resentment between the Alliance's allies.
"There was not a resolution of the issue. There was a commitment to continue the dialogue on the S-400. And the two teams will be following up on that coming out of the meeting," a top White House official said.
The US has long argued over Turkey’s purchase of the S-400 system, which is considered to threaten the Alliance’s defenses by potentially exposing intelligence on Western military capabilities, including on F-35 maker Lockheed Martin. The S-400 issue prompted Washington to remove Turkey from the F-35 fighter jet program and impose sanctions. Ankara has rejected those concerns and insisted that it was meeting its NATO commitments. Russia’s military officials have already denied that Turkey will send back the Russian technical experts and the S-400 contract will be carried out per the approved schedule.