Defense Minister Hulusi Akar and his U.S. counterpart Lloyd Austin have discussed bilateral security and regional issues in a phone call, the ministry said in a statement late Thursday.
During the conversation, National Defense Minister Hulusi Akar and US Secretary of Defense Lloyd James Austin had “a positive exchange of views” on regional matters and bilateral defense and security issues before the upcoming NATO Summit, the Turkish National Defense Ministry said on Twitter.
A top-level meeting of NATO member states will be held on June 14 in Brussels, Belgium.
Turkey is approaching the upcoming meeting between President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his U.S. counterpart Joe Biden with a positive agenda, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said earlier, adding that Ankara has received similar optimistic signals from Washington.
In an interview with public broadcaster TRT Haber, Çavuşoğlu noted that the United States wants to cooperate with Turkey not only on the issues of Libya and Syria, but also in many areas from the Mediterranean to the Black Sea and Caucasus regions.
“We see that the U.S. is willing to work with Turkey in many strategic fields. We have been observing this with all of our contacts, including Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Biden,” he said.
A face-to-face meeting between the two leaders is scheduled to take place on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Brussels on June 14. Biden and Erdoğan are expected to discuss a range of issues including Syria, Afghanistan, the Eastern Mediterranean and the S-400s issue.
In a televised address while holding a roundtable call with a group of executives from large U.S. companies, Erdoğan recently said that he believes his first in-person meeting with Biden at the NATO summit will mark the beginning of a new era.
Ankara and Washington disagree on a number of issues that have further strained bilateral ties, from Turkey’s purchase of Russian S-400 air defense systems to U.S. support for the Syrian branch of the PKK, the YPG, as well as the U.S. refusal to extradite Fetullah Gülen, leader of the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ).