Turkish opposition urges Trump to prod Erdogan on rights

Posted May 17, 2017

Addressing reporters a short time later, Trump said it was a "great honor" to welcome Erdogan.

Last month, he hosted Chinese president Xi Jinping, whose country is one of North Korea's few friends and a nation Mr Trump had promised to label a currency manipulator.

More than a year ago, during his testimony before a Senate panel at the U.S. Congress, former U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter was asked if the PYD was allied with or had substantial ties to the PKK - designated by the U.S., Europe, and Turkey as a terrorist group - he answered "Yes".

Donald Trump said his meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was "successful", in terms of discussing a joint effort to fight terror group Isis.

President Trump welcomed Turkish President Erdogan to the White House on Tuesday, where the two leaders reaffirmed their commitment to combating terrorism and defeating the extremist group the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). In May 2016, one-third of all refueling and one-fifth of the air support for the global coalition fighting ISIS took place at that air base.

But the meeting will take place with a White House still responding to what a senior USA official said was disclosure of classified information about an Islamic State terror threat involving laptop computers on aircraft. Turkish officials have insisted that the only acceptable option for the US -led worldwide coalition is to partner with Turkey's own forces.

Probably not. First of all, the decision to arm the Syrian Kurds may have been announced Tuesday, and it may have been timed to fall between the Turkish referendum and Erdogan's visit.

Hours after giving this interview, Phillips led a Monday evening discussion at Columbia titled "The Trump-Erdogan Summit: Defining Moment in U.S. -Turkey Relations".

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Trump launched cruise missiles last month at a Syrian air base after accusing Assad of using chemical weapons.

He was making a reference to the Syrian Kurdish fighters whom the US has made a decision to provide with weapons ahead of a possible operation to recapture the Islamic State group's Syrian stronghold of Raqqa.

Erdogan's administration, however, considers the Syrian Kurds terrorists due to their ties to Turkish Kurds who have been waging an insurgency to create an independent state over the last three decades. Despite this fact, these Kurdish fighters as well as the pro-Iranian Shia ones are not dealt with as "foreign terrorist fighters", in sharp contrast with what the US and the global community have so far advocated when it comes to countering foreign terrorists in Syria.

Trump, meanwhile, may be distracted by the ongoing controversy over intelligence leaks and the alleged ties between his campaign and Russian Federation, and not seek to put Erdogan on the spot over his government's often strident anti-American rhetoric or his clampdown on opposition media and purge of alleged Gulenists in government jobs.

"Washington, on the other hand, has made it amply clear that Turkey's demands are unlikely to be met because the USA has firm positions, or obstacles it can't overcome, that make it very hard to please Ankara", Idiz said.

Trump and Erdogan both emphasized the positive. Observers, meanwhile, will be closely watching how Trump handles Turkey's deteriorating human rights situation. "The relationship that we have together will be unbeatable", Trump said. Erdogan recently won a referendum in Turkey that gave him even more power. "However, at the moment it is necessary, and we will be doing that at military level at a meeting in Istanbul or in Ankara".

Mattis has played down the friction between the allies, saying that while "it's not always tidy", they will resolve any differences.

It's unclear what country was the source of Trump's intelligence.

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