The Turkish and US presidents also agree on "continued close consultations" between Ankara and Washington during their meeting on the sidelines of a NATO summit in Madrid.
US President Joe Biden has thanked Türkiye’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for striking a deal with Finland and Sweden that has paved the way for the two Nordic countries to soon become NATO members.
The Turkish and US presidents also agreed on "continued close consultations" between Ankara and Washington during their meeting on the sidelines of a NATO summit in Madrid on Wednesday, the White House said.
"I want to particularly thank you for what you did putting together the situation with regard to Finland and Sweden," Biden told Erdogan at the meeting.
Biden, in brief remarks before the leaders met, also thanked Erdogan for Ankara’s efforts to help get grain out of Ukraine, where millions of tonnes of wheat are stuck in ports due to Russia's military campaign.
Erdogan said he hoped diplomacy would help solve the issues around Ukraine’s grain exports.
Türkiye has been actively engaging with both Kiev and Moscow to secure the export grain from Ukraine amid concerns of a global food crisis.
Apart from the Ukraine situation and NATO membership bids of Sweden and Finland, Erdogan and Biden also discussed the situation in the Aegean and Syria.
US President Biden thanks Türkiye’s President Erdogan for his work to try to get grain out of Ukraine pic.twitter.com/kNNffHk82G— TRT World Now (@TRTWorldNow) June 29, 2022
'Constructive bilateral relations'
"President Biden reiterated his desire to maintain constructive bilateral relations, and the leaders agreed on the importance of continued close consultations between our governments," the White House said in a statement.
"The leaders discussed their continued support for Ukraine in its defence against Russian aggression, as well as the importance of removing Russian obstacles to the export of Ukrainian grain," the statement said.
The Russia-Ukraine conflict has had negative effects on grain and oil, the Turkish president said. "We are trying to resolve the process with a balanced policy in this regard. We hope that we will get results with this balanced policy."
In a brief conversation before the closed-door meeting, Erdogan said steps being taken to strengthen NATO will have a "special contribution" in the context of the Russia-Ukraine crisis.
The meeting came a day after Türkiye signed a memorandum with Sweden and Finland that brought the two countries a step closer to NATO membership, which they applied for in the wake of Moscow's offensive against Kiev.
According to the memorandum of understanding, Sweden and Finland agreed to cooperate in Türkiye's fight against the PKK terror group and its offshoots.
The three countries also confirmed that "now there are no national arms embargoes in place between them".
Türkiye, a longstanding NATO member, had earlier objected to the Nordic NATO bids, criticising the countries for tolerating and even supporting terrorist groups.