Erdogan’s White House talks with Biden postponed, official says

US President Joe Biden, right, meets with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during the G20 leaders summit, October 31, 2021, in Rome. (Evan Vucci/AP)
US President Joe Biden, right, meets with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during the G20 leaders summit, October 31, 2021, in Rome. (Evan Vucci/AP)

A rare meeting between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his US counterpart Joe Biden at the White House has been postponed, a Turkish official says, amid tensions over the Gaza war.

The talks, previously scheduled for May 9, would be the first White House meeting between the two leaders, who last met on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Lithuania in July.

“The visit planned for May 9 was postponed because of a change in Erdogan’s program,” the official tells AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“A new date will be decided” after an exchange between the two presidents, the official added.

Erdogan’s planned visit was never officially announced by the Turkish presidency, but a Turkish official told AFP in March that it would take place on May 9.

The NATO allies are seeking to rebuild ties strained over a number of disputes, including Turkey’s delayed approval of Sweden’s accession to the NATO alliance.

“The postponement is a pretty big deal, since Erdogan has been trying — for three years now — to get invited to the White House to meet US President Biden,” says Soner Cagaptay, director of the Turkish Program at The Washington Institute.

In a speech today, Erdogan criticized Washington for its “unconditional military and diplomatic support” to Israel.

Erdogan also lashed out at the US Senate for passing an aid package that earmarks $13 billion for Israel.

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