ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan congratulated President-elect Joe Biden on Tuesday, expressing Turkey’s determination to work closely with the new administration.
“I believe that the strong cooperation and the bond of alliance between our countries will continue to make vital contributions to world peace in the future, as it has done so far,” Erdogan said in his congratulatory message, made available by his office.
Turkey was one of a handful of countries, along with Russia, that had not commented on Biden’s victory since he was declared the winner of the U.S. presidential election on Saturday. A senior Turkish official said Monday that Ankara would wait until legal challenges to the U.S. election results were resolved and for the outcome to be finalized. It was not clear what made Erdogan change his mind.
Separately, Erdogan also sent a message to President Donald Trump thanking him for his “sincere and determined vision” for expanding the ties between the U.S. and Turkey during his four years in office. In his message, Erdogan also thanked Trump for his “warm friendship.”
Trump and Erdogan forged a strong personal relationship despite troubled ties between the two NATO allies. Ankara and Washington have been at odds over the past years over a number of issues, including on policy over Syria and Turkey’s decision to purchase Russia’s advanced anti-aircraft missile systems, which prompted Washington to expel Turkey from its F-35 stealth fighter program.
U.S. lawmakers have pressured the Trump administration to sanction Turkey.
Some analysts think strains between Ankara and Washington could deepen under the presidency of Biden, who takes a dimmer view of Turkey’s relations with Russia, its military interventions in Syria and Libya, and of Erdogan’s increasingly authoritarian tilt.
Earlier Tuesday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Turkey expects steps that would resolve issues that are “poisoning” ties with the United States. Addressing Turkish ambassadors in Ankara, Cavusoglu said there were a number of opportunities to help improve the bilateral ties, including the two countries cooperating to end the conflicts in Syria and Libya.