ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan asked several U.S. corporate executives for better ties in a call on Wednesday in which he again criticised the White House’s decision to call the 1915 Ottoman massacre of Armenians a genocide.
Erdogan said U.S.-Turkey ties would nonetheless enter a “new era” after his face-to-face meeting with President Joe Biden set for June 14, their first since last year’s U.S. election.
The video conference call, first reported by Reuters on Monday, included officials from Boeing, Amazon, Microsoft, Kellogg, PepsiCo, Cisco, Procter & Gamble and Johnson & Johnson, according to a video aired on Turkish TV.
Erdogan thanked companies that believed in Turkey and said he expects the United States to be more constructive, adding U.S. tariffs on aluminium and steel remain a problem. He said they could cooperate in Syria and in Libya including in energy.
“I believe we will make Turkey … a base for production and technology,” he told the executives via a translator in televised remarks.
“Biden’s statement on the 1915 events has put an added burden on our ties, but I believe the meeting we will hold on June 14 at the NATO summit will be the sign of a new era,” he added.
“By simplifying our incentive system, we will ensure investors can take advantage of incentives easier.”
Biden and Erdogan have held only one call, on April 23 when Biden said he would call the massacre of Armenians a genocide, a move that drew Turkish condemnation.
(Reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu and Jonathan Spicer; Editing by Alistair Bell)