ISTANBUL, June 13 (Reuters) - Turkish President Tayyip
Erdogan said he and U.S. President Joe Biden must use a meeting
on Monday to move on from past troubles, including a bitter
dispute over Ankara's purchase of Russian S-400 missiles.
Before travelling to Monday's NATO summit in Brussels,
Erdogan said he expected an "unconditional approach" from
Washington when he sat down with Biden for their first
face-to-face session since last year's U.S. elections.
He said he would also raise the White House's recognition of
the 1915 massacres of Armenians in the then Ottoman Empire as
"genocide", a move which had infuriated Ankara, and the U.S.
removal of Turkey from an F-35 fighter jet programme.
The Turkish president, who relied on a close personal
relationship with Biden's predecessor Donald Trump to iron out
past crises, has been frustrated by the more critical and
distanced approach from the new U.S. administration.
Erdogan had to wait three months after Biden's inauguration
for their first contact, an awkward phone call in April when the
U.S. president informed him of the genocide-recognition plan.
"We need to put Turkey-U.S. ties on the table first-hand,"
Erdogan told reporters at Istanbul's airport on Sunday.
"There was a lot of gossip internally and externally, so we
need to talk about how we can leave these troubles behind, what
we can do and what we will do. Turkey is not just any country -
it is an allied country."
The cooler ties between the two NATO members underline an
array of disputes including over U.S. support for Syrian
fighters deemed terrorists by Turkey and more vocal U.S.
criticism of Ankara's human rights record.
"An ally country taking such a stance on an issue that has
nothing to do with NATO, the issue of Armenians, has disturbed
and upset us. It is not possible to go on without reminding
(Biden of) this," Erdogan said.
Turkey accepts that many Armenians living in the Ottoman
Empire were killed in clashes with Ottoman forces in World War
One, but denies the killings were systematically orchestrated
and constitute genocide.
The United States cancelled the sale of 100 F-35s to Ankara
after the S-400 purchase in 2019. Erdogan has accused Washington
of breaking promises over the alternative U.S. Patriot missiles.
"Unfortunately there is a Turkey that has realised its
promises and a United States that has not kept its (promises) or
abided by the contract," Erdogan said of the programme.
"We must see an unconditional approach from the United
States, without any 'buts', that will add to the cooperation and
strength of NATO," he added.
Washington says the Russian S-400s are incompatible with
NATO defences and the F-35 fighter jets, concerns Ankara has
(Reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu and Jonathan Spicer;
Editing by David Goodman and Andrew Heavens)