Washington, DC – Today President Trump hosted President Erdogan in the White House, just weeks after Erdogan attacked our Syrian Kurdish allies, who until recently were leading the fight against ISIS in the region with American support.
Trump didn’t only give Erdogan an Oval Office meeting — he also offered a trade deal and a workaround to U.S. sanctions. This comes amidst reports that Turkish forces have committed ethnic cleansing and other potential war crimes. The United Nations has reported that more than 180,000 civilians in the area have been displaced due to the conflict.
We share the outrage of Members of Congress – both Democrats and Republicans alike – who called on Trump to rescind this invitation. Even Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell expressed uneasiness at seeing Erdogan receive the honor of a White House visit. In a half-hearted attempt to appease these congressional concerns, Trump invited select Republican Senators to meet with Erdogan. This worked to Trump’s benefit because he was able to let those Republicans ask a few hard questions, so that Trump himself didn’t have to challenge Erdogan at all.
“Why would Trump choose to invite Erdogan to the White House when Turkey is clearly not acting like a U.S. ally? It’s outrageous,” said Foreign Policy for America Executive Director Andrew Albertson. “Trump’s chumminess with Erdogan raises serious questions about whose interests Trump represented in today’s meeting – those of the American people or simply his own.”
“After President Trump abandoned our allies the Kurds to Turkish slaughter, it is shameful for him to host President Erdogan in the White House,” said Nancy Soderberg, former Deputy National Security Advisor and FP4A advisor. “Instead, we should suspend Turkey from NATO for engaging in ethnic cleansing and other atrocities in Syria, prompting more than 180,000 civilians to flee. We should be condemning, not feting, the dictatorial Erdogan who is also targeting political opponents, minorities, and NGOs at home.”