Biden: US, Turkey Need Each Other Despite Differences

Biden: US, Turkey Need Each Other Despite DifferencesBiden: US, Turkey Need Each Other Despite Differences

US Vice President Joe Biden has stressed that the US needs Turkey and it seems that Turkey believes it needs the US, despite the major differences on ways and means of dealing with the threat of the IS militants.

Arriving in Istanbul on Friday evening, Biden had a working dinner with Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and on Saturday he met with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for a lengthy conversation, which lasted close to four hours, even though it was planned to last 45 minutes, Today’s Zaman reported.

Biden and Erdogan held a joint press conference, but after making statements the leaders left without taking any questions from journalists, possibly to avoid responding to questions on whether the vice president had apologized to Erdogan or not after Biden’s remarks in October at Harvard University, accusing Turkey of supporting any group that is against Assad (including the IS).

The White House issued a statement after Biden’s remarks angered Erdogan saying that Biden apologized to him for any misunderstanding that his remarks caused. But later Biden denied that he had apologized to Erdogan, saying that he stands behind his words.

During the press conference in Istanbul, Biden said: “… we need Turkey. And I think Turkey believes that they need us, as well. We are close. We are going to continue to discuss how to approach each of these problems in the region.”

He also strongly emphasized that the US-Turkish partnership is “as strong as it ever has been.”

“Today we’re working closely together once again to meet the very pressing challenges of this moment and to further strengthen the strategic partnership between Turkey and America,” he said.

The US is pushing Turkey to allow expanded access to the coalition forces to Incirlik Air Base in Adana province, which is in close proximity to IS targets inside both Syria and Iraq.