Erdogan meets Trump: 3 key issues topping the agenda

Trump Erdogan seek to mend strained ties at White House meeting

US President Donald Trump's abilities as a dealmaker are being put to the test this week as he hosts Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who brings along a list of grievances over American policies.

During the election campaign, Mr Trump's pick for national security adviser, Lt Gen Michael Flynn, was a man paid to push the Turkish government's agenda in Washington.

He was quick to place a congratulatory call to the president last month after he narrowly won a flawed referendum on a huge expansion of his powers. In fact, there are already those who think this is the only way to get what you want from the US: unless you play dirty with Washington, make it pay greater costs, and spoil its plans, it will never take you seriously.

The White House said in a statement that Mr Trump and Mr Erdogan will give joint press statements on Tuesday followed by a working luncheon.

In 2013, USA prosecutors say Erdogan pressured Turkish prosecutors to drop criminal charges in a high-level bribery case brought against Zarrab.

Russian Federation is the most powerful ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime, and while much of the West supports Assad's removal, Russian Federation has insisted that he stay in charge.

The YPG militia is the most powerful element of an alliance of Arab and Kurdish fighters that has advanced to within a few kilometers of Raqqa, the last large Islamic State stronghold in Syria. And it raises a crucial question: Is Turkey willing to seriously disrupt the USA -led war against Islamic State to undermine Washington's support for the Kurds?

While Turkey and the USA are North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies, their relationship has been complicated by Washington's strategy on the war in Syria. Weeks later, Mr Trump is still beaming about the meeting and how great Mr Xi is. It continued a trend of Trump's supporting strongmen, as Erdogan has been criticized for jailing the most journalists of any leader in the world, as well as tens of thousands of political dissidents.

Announcing the decision without waiting to meet with Erdogan is "humiliating" considering the sensitivity of the matter to Turkey, said Bulent Aliriza, director of the Turkey Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Erdogan looks the other way while the US arms YPG in Syria and in return the USA allows Turkey to strike PKK bases or headquarters in Kurdish sections of Iraq. In addition, Turkey allowed IS to take over the Kurdish-dominated city of Kobani in 2014.

Trump could make some concessions to appease Erdogan, suggested Sinan Ulgen of Carnegie Europe.

But the meeting will take place with a White House still responding to what a senior USA official said was disclosure of classified information about an Islamic State terror threat involving laptop computers on aircraft.

One administration official described Erdogan's White House visit as a gift that offers the Turkish leader a gesture of worldwide legitimacy a month after a disputed referendum that critics say Erdogan won by violating global standards for free and fair elections.

Another major point Erdogan may raise is the extradition of Pennsylvania-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, who is accused by Ankara of fomenting unrest in Turkey for years, culminating in the failed military coup last year. The Turkish government asks Zarrab to be given to Turkey since he is a citizen.

"Military equipment was ordered by Turkey and the president [Erdogan]", Trump stated. The decision has pitted the two main US allies in the Syrian war against each other.

Erdogan himself is what you might call a "difficult personality", regarded in the West as a ruthless, power-grabbing autocrat at home and, at best, a prickly, often uncooperative ally in regional matters. "Our fight is against ISIS", Trump told reporters in response to a question about whether he had revealed classified information in a May 10 Oval Office meeting with top Russian officials. "I hope that during the meeting of our president. with President Donald Trump this issue will be changed to a positive trajectory".



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