To close weeks of tensions and confusing diplomatic ups and downs between two NATO allies, the president of the United States, Donald Trump, received his Turkish counterpart Wednesday, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who said he was “a big fan " The expected face-to-face came when the relationship between the two countries is going through one of its lowest moments in decades, but the Republican president wanted to reduce the discrepancies and spoke of "a magnificent and productive meeting."
The unrest in Washington over the Turkish military offensive against Kurdish positions in northern Syria, coupled with anger over Ankara's decision to turn his back on the United States and buy an air defense system from Russia, stand out among the factors of tension of a bilateral meeting that also coincided on the other side of Pennsylvania Avenue, with the first public hearings of the investigation of the impeachment of the president in the Capitol. The president said he had not followed the testimonies in Congress, and again spoke of "farce" and "witch hunts."
"We agree with Trump to solve problems and develop our ties despite the cloudy weather in our relationships," Erdogan said in a televised conference in Ankara, before leaving for Washington, on his second trip to the U.S. capital since 2017. But in the United States, the Trump administration did not hide its plans to pressure the Turkish head of state to reverse its purchase of Russian weapons. "If Turkey does not get rid of the S-400 (missile system), there will probably be sanctions," said National Security Minister Robert O'Brien, in a television interview before the meeting. In their joint appearance after the meeting, the leaders did not report any progress: Trump simply said he was confident that the conflict over the S-400 would be resolved in the future and Erdogan defended that they could only "overcome the challenges" through the "dialogue "RELATED
Erdogan and Trump, during the diplomatic meeting they held. (Photo: Reuters / Tom Brenner)
The figure of Erdogan tends to be perceived, both among Republicans and Democrats, as that of an increasingly authoritarian leader who strengthens his ties with Russia and who did not shake his pulse when attacking an ally of the United States in the fight against the Islamic State. The anger of the legislators with Turkey was reflected, on October 29, in a resolution passed by the House of Representatives in which it recognizes as a genocide the killing of 1.5 million Armenians by the Ottoman Empire a century ago. Erdogan strongly lamented on Wednesday a decision that can interpose "a long shadow" in relations between the two countries, and defended that these issues should be addressed "by historians and not by politicians."
“Don't be a tough guy. Don't be silly, ”Trump wrote to Erdogan in an extravagant letter after Turkey's attack on the Kurds in northern Syria on October 9, for which the US president had cleared the ground with his controversial decision to withdraw a Small military contingent in the region. The Republican later corrected his position: he threatened to "destroy" the Turkish economy and authorized sanctions against Ankara, which would end up after a ceasefire reached in mid-October.
"The ceasefire is still working," Trump added Wednesday, referring to the joint statement signed on October 17 by the Turkish leader and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, which was stopping the attacks on the Kurds. A ceasefire, conditioned to the withdrawal of the Kurds from the area, which the Syrian Democratic Forces assures that Ankara continues to violate and that Erdogan assured on Wednesday that the other party does not respect either. The US president also defended that Europe should contribute more money to cover the costs of refugees from the Syrian conflict. "I frankly believe that Europe should pay more, right now it is Turkey that pays for almost everything," he said.