Amid a phone call with U.S. President Donald Trump, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan decided that he will travel to Washington for a bilateral meeting with Trump on Nov. 13.
After a sanctions bill was approved by the House of Representatives last week, as well as passage of a separate resolution condemning the Armenian Genocide, there had been lengthy discussions in Ankara whether Erdoğan’s U.S. visit shall still take place. Erdoğan had said that he would decide after a planned phone call with President Trump.
The two leaders reaffirmed their meeting on Nov. 13, also discussed regional developments as well as bilateral issues, according to the Turkish Presidential Communications Directorate.
“Just had a very good call with President Erdogan of Turkey. He informed me that they have captured numerous ISIS fighters that were reported to have escaped during the conflict — including a wife and sister of terrorist killer al- Baghdadi,” Trump said in a tweet after yesterday’s call.
Erdoğan-Trump meeting comes in the aftermath of a deal reached between Ankara and Washington on Oct. 17 to pause Turkey’s military operation in northern Syria in order to allow the pro-Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) from a planned safe zone east of the Euphrates River.
Senate won’t take up action until Erdoğan completes visit
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Jim Risch told that they will not take up bipartisan legislation sanctioning Turkey for its invasion of northern Syria until after President Erdoğan completes his upcoming visit to the United States.
Politico reported that the move by Chairman Jim Risch to delay action on the sanctions bill ensures President Donald Trump won’t need to deal with a diplomatic flap during Erdoğan’s Washington trip.
The House on Oct. 29 voted overwhelmingly in favor to sanction senior Turkish officials, as well as a prohibition of transfers of U.S. military technology to Turkish units involved in the Syria campaign.
Senator Bob Menendez – top Democrat on Foreign Relations Committee- reminded that the panel was supposed to vote on the sanctions bill next week. “But I have a feeling that the chairman doesn’t want to do anything while Erdoğan is here,” Menendez told.
“We’ve come close to an agreement. I hope that the White House isn’t slowing things down,” Menendez added.