Thursday, 21 September, 2017

Trump, Turkish leader hail ties despite US arming of Kurds

Lintao Zhang  Pool  Getty Images Lintao Zhang Pool Getty Images
Kenny Thornton | 17 May, 2017, 11:39

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's security guards attacked a group of people who gathered outside the Turkish embassy in the USA capital to protest his policies back home.

But there were no public signs of friction Tuesday, as Trump and Erdogan struck public poses suggesting full agreement on the need to capture the IS stronghold at Raqqa.

At the top of his remarks Tuesday, Erdogan said: "Mr. President, my dear friend, distinguished members of the press, at the outset I'd like to wholeheartedly salute you all".

Prior to Erdogan's arrival at the White House, a violent altercation broke out between Erdogan supporters and a group of a few dozen people protesting the president outside of the Turkish ambassador's residence.

Erdogan's visit came at an awkward time as it followed US President Donald Trump's decision to arm the YPG, the main component of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which is fighting Daesh in Syria.

Turkish officials have repeatedly asked the United States to extradite Gulen, who oversees a vast educational and religious network in Turkey, over his suspected involvement in that episode.

TURKEY'S Kemalist opposition urged the United States to press Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on democracy yesterday after the latest media arrest.

"We look forward to having a long and productive discussion", Trump said.

That one time Apple patented a pizza box
Although, to be honest, we wouldn't be put out if they started licensing this patent . The box has a ruffled bottom, which also helps prevent the pie from going, well, limp.

Erdogan issued a statement afterward, congratulating Trump for his presidential election victory.

Erdogan has been under fire for a contested referendum that vastly expanded his executive power, as well as his government's crackdown on dissidents and civil society after an attempted coup last summer.

The US angered Turkey last week by announcing arms supplies to Syria's Kurdish YPG militia - which Turkey sees as allies of Turkey's banned Kurdish organisation the PKK - to fight Isis.

Turkey believes the Kurds in Syria are linked to the PKK. Military officials say the Syrian Kurds are key to that mission. Erdogan also ordered airstrikes last month on sparsely-populated Kurdish areas along the Iraq-Syria frontier. Erdogan bodyguards were also involved. The U.S., whose forces are sometimes embedded with the Kurds, has much to fear. But he asserted the USA and Turkey's mutual commitment to ending Syria's conflict.

Mr. Erdogan had pledged to use the White House meeting to try to get Mr. Trump to change course on the YPG.

The U.S.is relying on regional allies including Turkey for intelligence-sharing and military assistance as it crafts a Syria policy, particularly as Iran and Russian Federation work to bolster Syrian President Bashar Assad's government.

"We're going to have a lot of great success in the coming years ... the relationship that we have together will be unbeatable", Trump said while meeting Erdogan.

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