Biden Reportedly Plans to Warn Erdogan Against 'Precipitous Action' Amid Spat Over Ambassadors

© REUTERS / MURAT CETINMUHURDAR/PPOTurkish President Tayyip Erdogan meets with U.S. President Joe Biden on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Brussels, Belgium June 14, 2021.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan meets with U.S. President Joe Biden on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Brussels, Belgium June 14, 2021. - Sputnik International, 1920, 30.10.2021
Earlier this month, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan issued and then retracted an order for ten foreign envoys, including the US ambassador, to be declared “persona non grata” and expelled from the country over calls for the release of Turkish businessman and activist Osman Kavala, who has been under arrest for most of the past four years.
US President Joe Biden plans to warn his Turkish counterpart at their meeting Sunday against taking any steps that might damage the relationship between the two NATO allies, a US official told reporters Saturday.
“Certainly the president will indicate that we need to find a way to avoid crises like that one going forward and precipitous action is not going to benefit the US-Turkey partnership and alliance,” the official said, referring to the spat that blew up earlier this month over Kavala’s detention.
According to the official, the negotiations between Biden and Erdogan are expected to include Turkey’s request to purchase F-16 jets, regional matters including Syria and Libya, and Ankara’s defence relationship with the US.
On Monday, a group of 11 US lawmakers wrote to Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken asking the White House not to move forward with any F-16 deal with Turkey. “We cannot afford to compromise our national security by sending US-manufactured aircraft to a treaty ally which continues to behave like an adversary,” lawmakers urged.
US-Turkish relations have been marred in recent years over a range of disagreements, including US support for Kurdish forces in Syria, Turkey’s purchase of an advanced Russian-made air defence system, Washington’s move to boot Ankara out of the F-35 programme, and US sanctions against the Turkish defence sector.
Bilateral ties faced a new wrinkle last week after the Turkish Foreign Ministry summoned the ambassadors of 10 nations, including the US, over their calls for the release of Turkish businessman and activist Osman Kavala.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan heads a cabinet meeting in Ankara, Turkey, October 25, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920, 25.10.2021
Erdogan Says Crisis With Ambassadors Declared Personae Non Gratae Resolved
Who is Mr. Kavala?
Kavala, 64, has been under arrest and facing trial for much of the past four years after being detained in October 2017 over his alleged ties to the “Gulenist Terror Group,” – an organization Erdogan believes was behind the 2016 Turkish coup attempt, and in connection to a probe into the 2013 Gezi Park civil unrest. The businessman has been active in Turkish civil society since the 1980s, creating and funding a range of initiatives promoting ecology, civil rights, women’s rights, minority rights, and other issues, including an attempt to promote reconciliation between the Turkish and Armenian people over the Armenian Genocide of 1915-1917. He is also a founding member of the Turkish branch of the Open Society Foundation – the controversial George Soros-operated grant-making network accused by a number of governments of meddling in and attempting to destabilize countries.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry accused the ten ambassadors of making “impertinent statements” regarding Kavala’s detention, and urged the diplomats to “act within the scope of their responsibilities originating from their duties in line with the Vienna Convention.”
On 23 October, Erdogan announced that the ten ambassadors in question would be expelled, but backed down two days later, saying Monday that the diplomatic crisis had been “resolved” after the affected countries' embassies promised not to interfere in the Turkish legal system’s proceedings.
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