Seeking to restore relations on Capitol Hill, Erdogan to visit Trump in Washington

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan confirmed he will visit Washington on Nov. 13 following an overnight phone call with US President Donald Trump.

The announcement ended speculation the Turkish leader might cancel the trip after the US House of Representatives passed legislation recognizing the Ottoman Empire’s mass killing of Armenians between 1915 and 1923 as genocide, a move that was highly offensive to Turkish nationalist sentiments.

Now, as members of Congress have introduced a myriad of sanctions packages that would target Turkish officials and the broader economy, Erdogan’s visit will likely focus on restoring damaged US-Turkey relations following Ankara’s military incursion into Syria and the acquisition of Russian-made defense systems that pose security risks to NATO military equipment in Turkey.

“The important aspect of the summit is whether or not Erdogan is able to meet some of the influential [senators] who may still have some sympathies for Turkey,” Atilla Yesilada, a political analyst at Global Source Partners, told Al-Monitor. “He needs to persuade them that sanctions are completely counterproductive.”