The surprise meeting — which was not announced in advance by the White House — took place on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in Bali, Indonesia. Turkish media outlets posted media photos of the two leaders meeting online, but U.S. pool journalists traveling with Mr. Biden did not cover the event.
The meeting comes amid a rough patch in the relationship between the U.S. and Turkey.
On Sunday, a bomb attack on a bustling pedestrian street in Istanbul killed six people and wounded scores more. Turkish authorities have blamed the attack on the Kurdistan Workers’ Party or PKK and Syrian Kurdish groups affiliated with it. Those groups have denied involvement.
Although Washington has labeled the PKK a terrorist group, it has disputed Turkey’s depiction of the Syrian Kurdish groups, which have aligned with the U.S. in the fight against the Islamic State, better known as ISIS, in Syria.
U.S. support for the Kurdish military in Syria has been a sore spot in U.S.-Turkey relations. Turkey’s Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu on Monday said he rejects messages of condolences from Washington, saying such sympathy is akin to “the murderer returning to the crime scene.”
Another flashpoint for the two nations is Mr. Erdogan’s opposition to expanding NATO to include Finland and Sweden. Turkey had threatened to block Sweden and Finland’s membership in the 30-nation defense alliance, accusing both nations of supporting groups they have deemed to be terrorists.
It’s unclear if the two discussed Mr. Erdgoan’s opposition to NATO expansion.
• Jeff Mordock can be reached at email@example.com.
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