Turkey is “starting a new process” with the US, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said, as he met with his US counterpart Joe Biden on Tuesday.
Erdogan met Biden on the sidelines of the ongoing NATO summit in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania.
The Turkish president said that previous meetings with Biden were “warm-up sessions,” adding: “Now we are starting a new process.”
Erdogan stated that he believes it is time for consultations at the heads of state level with the US as part of the strategic mechanism.
“I consider this meeting as the first step towards that,” he added.
Biden thanked Erdogan for his leadership and carrying out diplomacy on Sweden’s NATO accession process, saying that he looks forward to meeting the Turkish president again.
Sweden’s accession to NATO following Finland is one of the main agenda items of the summit.
On Monday, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced that Turkey has agreed to send Sweden’s NATO Accession Protocol to parliament following a trilateral meeting between himself, Erdogan, and Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson.
The closed-door meeting took place at the Lithuanian Exhibition and Congress Centre (LITEXPO), the venue of the two-day NATO meeting that began earlier in the day.
Earlier, Erdogan also met with his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.
The 31 leaders of the military alliance are meeting to discuss the Ukraine war, Sweden’s NATO membership, and steps to strengthen the group’s defense and deterrence, among other issues.
Turkey has been a NATO member for over 70 years and boasts its second-largest army.