Joe Biden, the vice president of the United States, visited ailing Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan at his home in the Üsküdar district of Istanbul on Saturday.
The two leaders focused on the fight against terrorism and regional issues, including the future of Iraq, from which American military forces will withdraw as of Dec. 31.
The two-hour meeting also became the first public appearance of Erdoğan a week after a surgery.
Biden attended the Entrepreneurship Summit before his visit to the PM’s home, addressing a group of international guests. In his speech, the U.S. vice president reiterated the importance of the Turkish-American partnership regarding NATO, Afghanistan and Iraq.
He expressed sorrow for the civilian lives lost in recent attacks by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), assuring Turkish citizens that the U.S. stands “with Turkey” in its fight against the organization regarded as terrorist by Turkey, the European Union and the United States.
Regarding Syria, Biden told the summit that the United States “shared and supported” the Turkish position against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
The vice president also commented on the strained state of affairs between Turkey and Israel – two key allies of the U.S. in the region. He said Washington hopes the two nations would soon get a chance to solve their issues.
Biden’s speech touched on domestic issues as well, as he said plans to write a new constitution would strengthen democracy and human rights.
Biden further drew attention to Internet freedoms – an issue that increasingly draws attention due to new “voluntary filters” and thousands of banned websites.
“There is only one world of Internet,” Biden said. “And it should be free and open.”
ISTANBUL – Hürriyet Daily News