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Erdogan and Biden may meet at NATO's US summit in July, ambassador says

Amid widening differences over Gaza, Turkey postponed in April the Turkish president’s visit to the White House that was planned for May.
US President Joe Biden (R) and Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan hold bilateral talks the NATO Summit in Vilnius on July 11, 2023. (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / AFP) (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)

ANKARA — US Ambassador to Ankara Jeff Flake said that the NATO leaders summit in Washington on July 9-11 could be an opportunity for a meeting between President Joe Biden and his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Erdogan’s first visit to the Biden White House, initially planned for May, was postponed by the Turkish side, with officials from both countries citing a scheduling conflict. However, the United States' continuing military support for Israel in its war in Gaza is believed to be one of the leading factors in the Turkish side's decision to postpone. 

Biden is the first US President in over two decades who has not hosted Erdogan in the White House during the first three years in office. 

“There’s some desire on both sides” for a meeting, Flake told Reuters in an exclusive interview released on Wednesday, adding that the transatlantic alliance’s summit in Washington provides an opportunity for the talks. While reiterating that the postponement was due to a scheduling conflict, Flake also acknowledged that the planning of the visit came at challenging times for US-Turkey ties amid a “tough political backdrop” over the Israel-Hamas war.

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