Absent new agreements, Trump-Erdogan meeting ends with pledge to work together

As the public impeachment hearings opened against US President Donald Trump, the embattled American leader hosted Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the White House today.

The much-anticipated meeting was their first since Turkey’s incursion into northeast Syria and though no new agreements were announced, the two presidents said they would work to restore strained US-Turkish relations.

“Turkey’s acquisition of sophisticated Russian military equipment, such as the S-400, creates some very serious challenges for us and we are talking about it constantly,” Trump said during a press conference following the meeting, saying his staff would work on resolving the S-400 issue.

Erdogan said Turkey remained a dedicated partner in the fight against terrorism and highlighted his nation’s role in hosting more than 3.6 million refugees. Before and after the press event, Trump also signaled he was open to expanding US-Turkey trade, stating the countries’ annual trade volume of $20 billion could reach $100 billion.

Asli Aydintasbas, a senior fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations who wrote about the poor timing of the meeting in The Washington Post, said the event was a “huge win for Erdogan.”

Erdogan “has projected power at home and got a major audience in the US, including congressional Republican leaders and media,” Aydintasbas told Al-Monitor. “Erdogan was able to reiterate some of his key talking points, such as YPG being terrorists,” she added, using the initials for the majority-Kurdish People’s Protection Units in northeast Syria.

Read the full story on Al Monitor.