Biden, Erdogan Top Advisors Discuss Karabakh

President Biden's National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan (left) and Turkish presidential advisor Ibrahim Kalin
President Biden's National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan (left) and Turkish presidential advisor Ibrahim Kalin

President Biden’s National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan (left) and Turkish presidential advisor Ibrahim Kalin

The Karabakh conflict reportedly was discussed on Tuesday during a phone conversation between President Joe Biden’s National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and Ibrahim Kalin, the chief advisor to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

According to Turkish state-run media, the Karabakh conflict was among topics, including Syria, Libya and Afghanistan that were discussed by the two top leaders. No specific details on the subject of Karabakh were publicized. The White House did not include a mention of Karabakh in its readout of the call.

On Monday, in a strongly-worded op-ed published in the San Francisco Chronicle, representatives Jackie Speier and Adam Schiff urged President Biden to end America’s “silence on Azerbaijan’s and Turkey’s regional aggression” and halt U.S. military assistance to Azerbaijan.

“We must also reassess our relationship with Turkey, which has always been complex, but has become increasingly untenable as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has amassed autocratic powers while undermining U.S. interests. In addition to encouraging, arming, and supplying Syrian mercenaries to wage war in Nagorno-Karabakh, Turkey’s actions in Syria have set back U.S. interests and endangered our forces,” Speier and Schiff stressed in the op-ed.

“Sullivan underscored the Biden Administration’s desire to build constructive U.S.-Turkey ties, expanding areas of cooperation and managing disagreements effectively,” said a White House statement.

U.S.-Turkey relations have been in a downward spiral in recent years with tensions escalating when Ankara opted to purchase the S-400 air defense system from Russia, in defiance of NATO agreements.

The White House said that Sullivan “conveyed the administration’s intention to strengthen transatlantic security through NATO, expressing concern that Turkey’s acquisition of the Russian S-400 surface-to-air missile system undermines alliance cohesion and effectiveness.”

At the end of last year, Congress overwhelmingly approved sanctions against Turkey when voting on the 2021 Defense Appropriation bill—a move vetoed by President Donald Trump forcing Congress to overwrite the veto.

Turkey’s ongoing feud with Greece in the eastern Mediterranean Sea and the Cyprus issue were also touched on by Sullivan and Kalin.

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