Trump: "Turkey is a great NATO ally and a strategic partner of the United States"
- 14 November 2019
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and U.S. President Donald Trump has "frank and very productive" talks Wednesday that far exceeded their scheduled conclusion, with both sides discussing a range of crucial matters such as Turkey's acquisition of F-35 fighter jets, the situation in Syria and the bilateral trade volume between the two countries, APA reports citing Daily Sabah.
The press conference following the talks was off to a very good start with Trump declaring that he was "big fan" of his visiting Turkish counterpart.
"Turkey, as everyone knows, is a great NATO ally and a strategic partner of the United States," Trump said.
"I'm a big fan of the president."
His comments echoed his remarks from earlier before the two presidents held a one-one-one meeting.
"We're great friends with President Erdoğan. We understand each other and our bilateral concerns," he had told reporters before the talks.
After their 75-minute meeting and discussions between Turkish and U.S. delegations, Trump again reiterated that the talks were "wonderful", adding: "The U.S.-Turkish alliance can be a powerful force for security and stability, not only in the Middle East, but beyond."
"I look forward to working with you," Trump said, referring to Erdoğan.
Then came the time to address points of contention between both sides. First up was Ankara's purchase of the Russian S-400 surface-to-air missile system.
"We can overcome the tests we are facing, particularly regarding the S-400 system and F-35, only through dialogue," Erdoğan told the joint press conference.
Turkey was suspended from the U.S.-led F-35 fighter jet program after buying the Russian system this year.
Erdoğan said he told Trump that Turkey can buy U.S. Patriot missiles "if offered the desired conditions," in a reference to the price.
Trump said he and Erdoğan have directed their senior officials to "immediately work on resolving the S-400 issue."
Turkey's acceptance of the S-400, Trump said, "creates some very serious challenges for us, and we are talking about it constantly."
"We talked about it today. We will talk about it in the future. Hopefully, we'll be able to resolve that situation," Trump said.
Regarding the expansion of the bilateral trade volume to reach $100 billion, Trump said he thinks "we made tremendous progress on that."
"We encourage Turkey to further open its market, and they are doing that," he said.