Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and US President Donald Trump may meet face-to-face either in Turkey or on the sidelines at the G20 summit in Japan next month, Reuters said in a report on Thursday, citing a senior Turkish official.
The official, reportedly speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters on Wednesday that there were “positive signals” that Trump would accept the request of Erdogan, who had invited the American president to Turkey.
“We are working on the calendar now. We have some positive signals but the time has not been scheduled yet. They may meet on the margins of G20 in Japan as well,” the official stated.
He added: “For a bilateral visit, we are waiting for an exact date.”
The Turkish government and the United States have been at odds with each other regarding Ankara’s planned purchase of the Russian S-400 missile defense system.
NATO member countries that are part of the F-35 program, the US being first, have argued that Turkey’s plan to buy the Russian S-400s will pose a security threat to the US F-35 stealth fighter jets, which Ankara also plans to buy.
The argument was based on the idea that the Russian S-400s will make the F-35 less able to evade Russian weapons in the future because it will have the ability to spot and track the fighter jet.
Washington also held forth that the S-400 defense systems are incompatible with the NATO defense network.
A number of prominent US senators, including the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, warned Turkey that it will face repercussions for buying the Russian S-400 system under legislation known as Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CATSAA).
As a NATO member, Turkey insists that the S-400 poses no threat to the United States and argues, therefore, that sanctions should not apply.
Since Turkey’s hopes of averting US sanctions have increasingly seemed dependent on a potential intervention from Trump, the investors have been waiting for a meeting between the two presidents.
After a meeting in April with Trump and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who is the White House adviser, Turkish media quoted Berat Albayrak, who is Turkey’s finance minister and Erdogan’s son-in-law, as saying the US president had a “positive understanding” regarding Turkey’s needs for the S-400s.
In 2017, Ankara and Moscow signed the deal for the purchase of the Russian S-400 air defense systems, which are set to arrive in Turkey before July, according to Erdogan’s statement about the issue last week.