Türkiye has extended a proposal to lead three-way talks about Azerbaijan's Karabakh region, involving those two countries and neighboring Armenia, while also expressing readiness for four-way discussions that would include Russia, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday.
"We conveyed our proposal for a trilateral meeting under our leadership to them (Azerbaijan and Armenia). Beyond the trilateral approach, we also made a quadrilateral proposal," Erdogan said at a news conference in Istanbul ahead of his departure for next week's UN General Assembly meeting in New York.
"There has been no response yet," he said of the four-way proposal, noting that he would also further discuss the matter with his Azerbaijani counterpart Ilham Aliyev to closely monitor developments.
On the European Parliament's 2022 report about Türkiye, he said the EU is "trying to break away" from Ankara.
"During this period in which the European Union has taken steps to sever ties with Türkiye, we will assess these developments, and after these assessments, if necessary, we can part ways with the European Union," he said.
Sweden not fulfilling duties for NATO accession
On Sweden's NATO membership bid, he said that if terrorists were being allowed to hold demonstrations under police protection in the Scandinavian country, this showed that Stockholm was failing to "fulfill its duties" under an agreement with Ankara to greenlight its accession to the alliance.
Besides drafting new laws to better combat terrorism, Sweden must also enforce the measures in these laws, Erdogan emphasized, voicing concern that despite these legislative efforts, terrorist activities persist on the streets of Stockholm.
"When promises made to us are not kept, everyone should appreciate how my parliament reacts on this matter," he said.
Erdogan also touched on Türkiye's request to purchase F-16 fighter jets from the US.
"What are they saying about the F-16s? 'This (sale) can't happen without the decision of the House of Representatives.'
"If there's a House of Representatives over there, then I also have a parliament. I can't predict what decision parliament will make (on Swedish accession)," he said, underlining that that decision would be at the discretion of Turkish lawmakers.
Ankara requested F-16 fighter jets and modernization kits in October 2021. The $6-billion deal would include the sale of 40 jets as well as modernization kits for 79 warplanes already in the Turkish Air Force’s inventory. The State Department has informally notified Congress of the potential sale.
Although the Biden administration repeatedly said it wants to move forward with the sale of F-16 jets to Türkiye, key lawmakers on Capitol Hill have vowed to nix the deal over several demands, including making the purchase contingent on Ankara's approval of Sweden's NATO membership bid.
Officials from the Biden administration, including Secretary of State Antony Blinken, previously said the administration does not link the two issues of F-16 sales and Ankara's approval to Sweden's NATO accession.
However, President Erdogan on Sunday said after a brief chat with US President Joe Biden on the sidelines of G-20 summit in New Delhi that the US makes such a connection, and that this "upsets" Ankara.
Ankara maintains that the jets would strengthen not only Türkiye but also NATO.
Erdogan also emphasized his intention to discuss steps to increase investments in Türkiye with prominent members of the US business community during his five-day visit.
Pointing to a significant increase of $22 billion in Türkiye's foreign exchange reserves over the past three months, he said the Central Bank's total gross reserves today exceed $120 billion.
He pointed out that the recent announcement by the World Bank to increase its funding for Türkiye serves as another example of the confidence in the country.
The Turkish president then departed for the US to participate in the 78th General Assembly of the UN.
During his visit, Erdogan on Tuesday will address the UN General Assembly, gathering under the theme "Rebuilding trust and reigniting global solidarity: Accelerating action on the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals towards peace, prosperity, progress, and sustainability for all."
Accompanying him on the journey are Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan, Treasury and Finance Minister Mehmet Simsek, intelligence chief Ibrahim Kalin, Communications Director Fahrettin Altun, chief adviser Akif Cagatay Kilic, and other officials.
Erdogan is also expected to engage in a series of high-level meetings and discussions, including with his counterparts.
The Turkish leader will also participate in events featuring representatives from the Turkish and Turkish-American communities, business leaders, officials from think tanks, and figures representing diverse segments of American society, according to the Communications Directorate.Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.