President Donald Trump says he and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan are “very good friends,” however their assembly Wednesday on the White Home did not resolve a difficulty that has badly strained relations between the 2 NATO allies.
Trump and Erdogan concluded a go to with out reaching an agreement on Turkey’s determination earlier this 12 months to just accept supply of a Russian air defence system that poses such a menace to NATO safety that the U.S. suspended Turkish participation within the multinational F-35 fighter jet program.
The Turkish president informed reporters he is likely to be persuaded to make use of the U.S.-made Patriot system “as well” because the Russian S-400. Trump stated they’d conform to maintain working on the difficulty.
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“The acquisition of the S-400 creates some very serious challenges for us,” Trump stated. “Hopefully we’ll be able to resolve that situation.”
The dispute over the competing air defence techniques is a serious part of the stress between the 2 nations. Turkey has additionally come underneath fireplace on Capitol Hill for its incursion into Syria final month to assault the Kurdish forces who fought with the U.S. towards the Islamic State. And Turkey has been criticized for repression of political opponents, journalists and others.
Turkey, in the meantime, is angered on the U.S. for supporting the Kurdish forces it views as a menace and for refusing to extradite a Muslim cleric it accuses of fomenting a 2016 coup try towards Erdogan.
Regardless of the variations, Trump stated he believes the 2 sides can considerably improve commerce, which amounted to about US$24 billion in 2017.
“We think we can bring trade up very quickly to about US$100 billion between our countries,” Trump stated.
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Erdogan used the assembly as an opportunity to defend his navy offensive towards U.S.-backed Kurdish forces in northeastern Syria, a few of whom have hyperlinks to the separatists who’ve waged a violent marketing campaign in Turkey for many years.
“We’re just fighting terrorists, period,” he stated. “If you don’t fight back, you will have to pay a very hefty price.”
His phrases did not placate members of Congress and others who accuse Turkish-backed forces of killing Kurdish civilians and inflicting a humanitarian disaster within the incursion, which prompted the U.S. final month to hurriedly evacuate a small variety of American troops from close to the Syria-Turkey border.
“There has been a callous disregard for civilian lives, including attacks on residential areas,” stated Margaret Huang, government director of Amnesty Worldwide USA.
The leaders’ scheduled afternoon information convention, following a gathering with Republican lawmakers on the White Home, gave Trump a stage to counter the primary public hearings within the Home impeachment inquiry. Trump stated he was busy and didn’t watch a minute of the televised hearings, which he known as a “hoax.”
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Republicans and Democrats in Congress didn’t assume Trump ought to meet with Erdogan in any respect.
Senate Minority Chief Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., stated it was “mindboggling” and “appalling” for Trump to roll out a pink carpet for Erdogan after the invasion of Syria.
“Erdogan suppresses free speech, arrests opponents and does so many other terribly things to his country, which was once a much more shining example of democracy,” Schumer stated.
Within the Senate, two Democrats have launched laws denouncing Turkey’s focusing on of journalists, political opponents, dissidents, minorities and others. They stated the Turkish authorities had imprisoned greater than 80,000 Turkish residents, closed greater than 1,500 non-governmental organizations on terrorism-related grounds and dismissed or suspended greater than 130,000 civil servants from their jobs.
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Throughout the information convention, Trump joked that Erdogan ought to solely name on a pleasant Turkish reporter. When Erdogan known as on a feminine Turkish reporter, in line with a number of individuals within the room, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., leaned over and quietly informed somebody seated subsequent to him, “She’s the only reporter left over there” in Turkey.
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, stated lawmakers have vital considerations about each the S-400 and the assault on the Kurds, who “have risked a lot to stand with America” and battle the Islamic State.
“If we can resolve those two issues, I think there is the opportunity for enormous trade, enormous strategic co-operation, but those two issues are real and significant,” Cruz stated.
© 2019 The Canadian Press
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