Published On: Thu, Nov 14th, 2019

What progress is to be expected following the meeting between Erdogan & Trump?

What progress is to be expected following the meeting between Erdogan & Trump?

During a period of high tension in the Ankara-Washington line, President Tayyip Erdoğan held a critical meeting with US President Donald Trump, yesterday. The main topics of the White House summit were the developments in Syria, especially the Peace Spring Operation, terrorist organizations PKK / YPG, FETÖ, Russian S-400 systems, American F-35 planes and sanctions.

At a joint press conference following bilateral and delegation talks, Trump emphasized NATO alliance rather than issues of disagreement. “This is a very important force for the Middle East”, he said. He noted that Turkey had the second largest army in the Nato alliance after the United States and praised its contribution to NATO. Trump also shared that the co-operation would continue in the fight against terrorism as well as the economic co-operation. Trump, who said they had been friends with Erdogan for a long time, emphasized in his first statement before the meeting that the ceasefire in Syria continued and they had talked to Kurds who seemed to be satisfied.

Upon a question about the invitation of  terrorist Mazlum Kobani to the USA, Trump said, “We are working closely with the YPG. We are also working with your President”. He stated that Turkey had captured more than 100 ISIS terrorists and continued to look after them. He thanked Erdogan for what Turkey did in the Turkey-Syria border.

Stating that the USA was continuing its strategy for the oil fields in Syria, Trump said, “You know, we withdrew our troops a certain time ago. I thought we should stop worrying about the borders of other people now. We need to protect our own borders”.

Trump said he understood Turkey’s problems and upon the question “Will Turkey be able to have both the S-400 and F-35 simultaneously?” he said, “We talked about it, we’ll talk”.

He stated that Turkey produced F-35 parts but the subject of the S-400 created problems. adding negotiations between the parties would continue to solve this crisis. He also said, “We are doing far too little trade, such as US$ 20 billion which could go up to 100 billion”.

At the joint press conference, Erdoğan said, “We are determined to open a new chapter in our relations with USA, in accordance with our deep-rooted alliance. We agree on the development of our cooperation. We remain committed to our agreement with the United States for a permanent solution to the crisis in Syria.  The decision of The House of Representatives has hurt the Turkish nation”. He noted that he had repeated Turkey’s request to end the presence of FETÖ (Fethullah Gülen, known as the mastermind behind the coup attempt in 2016) and added the two parties could come over the issues faced such as S-400 and F35 etc. with dialogue.

In his statement before flying to Washington Erdoğan had referred to the picture between two countries as “foggy and painful”. Despite the cease-fire agreement reached in Syria on October 17 with the United States, he had noted there were still elements of a terrorist organization in the region and the withdrawal commitment was not totally fulfilled. On the other hand in the news published by Washington Post before the summit the red lines of the USA was that the S-400 air defense systems bought by Turkey from Russia should not be activated.

The last source of tension between the two countries was Trump’s letter on October 9, which opposed the Operation Spring of Peace, using the expressions such as “Be tough, don’t be a fool” addressing Erdogan in addition to resolution by US House of Representatives recognizing the 1915 events as genocide. In fact, many people in Turkey had called on the President to cancel his visit to the United States. Erdogan, on the other hand, had said that he would present the letter to Trump. At the joint press conference, Erdogan “We returned the letter (gave actually)”.

Following talks between President Erdogan and US President Trump, they briefly met with Republican senators, including Lindsey Graham and Ted Cruz. In reply to the expressions of senators such as “the US fought against ISIS with Syrian Kurds. We do not want to see Turkey attacking Kurds”, Erdoğan replied, “Syrian Kurds are our brothers. You mean YPG / PYD when you say don’t attack Kurds. These are affiliates of the PKK terrorist organization. Out of 4 million refugees hosted by Turkey, 350 thousand are of Kurdish origin. We have spent a total of US$ 40 billion for all refugees whereas the contribution from EU was only Euro 3 billion.”

Erdogan also shared a  safe zone should be established within 6 months to 2 years to be under Turkey’s control and 2 million refuges could be relocated to said area.

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