U.S. press knew Monday's meeting between President Biden and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was coming. But what they didn't expect was to be left out of the get-together almost entirely.
Although originally supposed to "go in for a picture and remarks," U.S. reporters waited outside of the meeting room for almost two hours, The Washington Post reports. Turkish press, however, was allowed in. No explanation was offered as to why.
The next update reporters received was reportedly from Turkish officials, who shared photos of the meeting on the Turkish presidency's Twitter account, per the Post and Bloomberg.
When reporters were finally allowed inside the room, both Biden and Erdoğan remained tight-lipped about their discussions, writes Bloomberg. Eventually, Biden told reporters the two leaders had "had a good meeting" — but nothing else, per The Associated Press.
Although the exclusion of U.S. reporters may have been a symptom of "last minute jostling and wrangling," American press expressed frustration with the White House, saying the snub flies in the face of Biden's message of democracy vs. autocracy.
Biden wasn't any more forthcoming during a press conference on Monday afternoon. He simply said he and Erdoğan had a "positive and productive meeting, much of it one-on-one," and added that he is "confident" the U.S. and Turkey will make "real progress."
The president is on his first official trip overseas, which began in England at the G-7 summit and now continues at NATO headquarters in Brussels. He will later meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva.