US President Donald Trump sought yesterday to repair relations with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is alarmed about a US plan to arm Kurdish fighters in Syria.
Mr Trump said he and the Turkish president would have a “long and hard discussion” as he welcomed Mr Erdogan to the Oval Office for a meeting three days ahead of a Trump trip to the Middle East.
Mr Erdogan said the US shouldn’t work with the YPG Kurdish militia, a group Turkey considers a terrorist organisation, that Mr Trump plans to arm.
“Taking them into consideration in the region will never be accepted and it is going to be against the global agreement that we have reached,” Mr Erdogan said in a statement.
Mr Trump has worked since his election to improve relations with Mr Erdogan that grew tense by the end of Barack Obama’s presidency.
Some of the people who shaped Mr Trump’s presidential campaign also have worked on the Turkish president’s pet causes. A firm owned by Mr Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, received more than $500,000 during the election campaign, initially undisclosed, for work intended to discredit an Erdogan political rival.
Mr Erdogan is also seeking the extradition of Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish preacher exiled in Pennsylvania, whom Mr Erdogan considers a terrorist.