Biden meets Erdogan amid tension over defence, human rights

By Jeff Mason

ROME (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden held talks with Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan on the sidelines of the G20 meeting in Rome on Sunday amid a request from Turkey for F-16 fighter jets and tension over human rights.

A U.S. administration official said on Saturday that Biden would warn his Turkish counterpart that any “precipitous” actions would not benefit U.S.-Turkish relations and that crises should be avoided after Erdogan threatened to throw out the U.S. ambassador to Turkey and other foreign envoys for seeking the release of jailed philanthropist Osman Kavala.

Erdogan later withdrew his threat to expel the envoys.

Biden was expected to discuss Turkey’s request to purchase F-16 fighter jets, which U.S. lawmakers have opposed on the grounds that Turkey purchased Russian missile defence systems.

Biden and Erdogan posed for photos before their talks on Sunday. Asked if he planned to give Turkey F-16s, Biden said they were “planning to have a good conversation”.

(Reporting by Jeff Mason; editing by David Evans)

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