NHK reported that President Biden held bilateral talks with Turkish President Erdogan on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Spain on Wednesday. The network said that at the outset of the talks, President Biden thanked Erdogan for his nation’s support for the efforts by Sweden and Finland to join NATO by altering its negative stance on the matter. NHK said that relations between the United States and Turkey deteriorated following Turkey’s purchase of surface-to-air missile systems from Russia. The United States removed Turkey from the multinational joint development program for the F-35 in response to the Russian deal. Ankara later called on Washington to help it improve the performance of its F-16 fighter jets to compensate for its absence from the F-35 development. According to the broadcaster, a senior USG official told reporters on Wednesday that the United States fully supports Turkey’s modernization of its F-16s. The network speculated that Washington’s indication that it would provide Ankara with the desired security cooperation is behind Turkey’s turnaround in policy on Finland’s and Sweden’s accession to NATO.
NHK also reported that speaking to reporters in Turkmenistan on Thursday, Russian President Putin warned that Moscow will respond accordingly if NATO deploys troops and infrastructure in Finland and Sweden. Asked about NATO’s decision to issue a formal invitation to Finland and Sweden to join the alliance, Putin said that unlike in the case of Ukraine, Russia does not have an issue with the two countries joining NATO, but added that if NATO troops and infrastructure are deployed in these two countries, Russia would be compelled to respond. He added that relations between Russia and the two nations were fine, but that “now there will be tensions.”