A group of protesters held a demonstration at noon on Nov. 13 at Lafayette Park, across from the White House, to protest Turkish President Erdoğan's visit to the U.S. The last time Erdoğan visited Washington, his bodyguards were caught on video beating demonstrators at Sheridan Circle.
Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli has voiced his support for President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, saying that "our prayers are with the Turkish delegation in the U.S." Bahçeli's remarks came hours before the meeting between Erdoğan and Trump, which was described as "meaningful and important" by the MHP leader.
Former National Security Advisor John Bolton has accused U.S. President Donald Trump of making his personal interests guide his foreign policy decisions, as he said that there is a personal or business relationship dictating Trump’s position on Turkey because none of his advisers are aligned with him on the issue. The Trump Organization has a property in Istanbul, and the president's daughter Ivanka Trump attended the opening with President Erdoğan in 2012.
Turkey-backed Syrian rebels have once again been accused of committing human rights violations, with military officials of the U.S. having drone footage that appear to show several incidents that civilians were executed. Some in the U.S. military who saw the American drone footage said the video, combined with initial, internal military reports, raised strong concerns about apparent war crimes, several U.S. military officials said.
The United States has urged Turkey to look into the reports of human rights violations and war crimes that took place at the hands of Ankara-backed rebels during Turkey's Operation Peace Spring, while citing the killing of Syrian Kurdish politician Hevrin Khalaf as an example of the incidents. Washington also asked Ankara to investigate the reports of usage of chemical weapons, specifically white phosphorus.
An ISIS militant has been waiting in the buffer zone between Turkey and Greece after being deported by the former and rejected by the latter. The U.S. citizen militant is among the first jihadists that Turkey deported, as the repatriation of ISIS members has become a subject of debate due to the European countries stripping them of their citizenship in order not to take them back.
Two House Republicans and 15 Democrats have urged U.S. President Donald Trump to rescind his invitation of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in a letter. "Turkish forces have killed civilians and members of the Syrian Democratic Forces, a critical U.S. partner in the fight against ISIS, and displaced over one hundred thousand people from their homes in northern Syria,” the letter read.
President Erdoğan has slammed the European Union for its decision to sanction Turkey in relation to the country's drilling activities off the coast of Cyprus, saying that the bloc should "reconsider" its attitude towards Turkey, "which keeps ISIS militants in prisons and under control in Syria."
Jordan, the United Arab Emirates and Turkey have repeatedly violated an arms embargo on Libya, the United Nations Security Council Libya sanctions committee has said, adding that the three countries "routinely and sometimes blatantly supplied weapons with little effort to disguise the source."
European Union foreign ministers agreed on economic sanctions over Turkey's drilling off the coast of Cyprus, setting up the legal framework for travel bans and asset freezes but leaving names until a later date. The move was slammed by Turkish Foreign Ministry, which said that the country "will not cease to protect our rights stemming from international law and rights and interests of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus."
Renowned Turkish journalist Murat Yetkin, in an article which he penned before President Tayyip Erdoğan departed Ankara for Washington, analyzed possible outcome of the summit between Erdoğan and U.S. President Donald Trump due on Nov. 13. According to Yetkin the worst case scenario would take place if the U.S. Senate has passed a sanctions bill or a resolution on Armenian genocide while Erdoğan is in town.
Former British intelligence officer and a major White Helmets backer James Gustaf Edward Le Mesurier was found dead in Istanbul's Beyoğlu district. His death came just days after Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova accused him of being a spy in the Balkans and the Middle East.
Turkey began deporting foreign ISIS militants that it apprehended in Syria to their countries of origin on Nov. 11, following Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu's remarks last week regarding Ankara's determination in not keeping the jihadists in Turkey. "Turkey is not a hotel for ISIS members of others," Soylu said previously, adding that revoking citizenships of the militants will not prevent Turkey from repatriating them.
Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley has said that the number of U.S. troops to remain in Syria following U.S. President Donald Trump's decision of a pullout will be fewer than 1,000. "But we're not going to go into specific numbers because we're still going through the analysis right now," Milley said in an interview.
As Erdoğan's visit to the U.S. nears, White House National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien said that Ankara should "get rid of" Russian S-400 missile systems, adding that U.S. President Donald Trump will tell Erdoğan "very clearly" that there is no place for Russian military purchases in NATO.