‘A particularly inappropriate time’: Trump to welcome Erdogan despite Syria attack

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump will welcome Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to the White House on Wednesday just weeks after the authoritarian leader invaded Syria and attacked U.S.-allied Kurdish forces, unleashing fresh violence and chaos in the Middle East.

The Trump-Erdogan meeting could prove to be a political hornet’s nest, provoking fresh bipartisan anger over Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria in what many lawmakers saw as a betrayal of the Kurdish-led forces that helped American troops fight the Islamic State. Trump invited Erdogan to Washington during an Oct. 6 phone call, in which critics say Trump also gave Erdogan a green light to invade Syria.

The White House tete-a-tete – along with an ensuing joint news conference – will unfold as the House opens public impeachment hearings showcasing Trump’s relationship with another foreign leader, the president of Ukraine, even as lawmakers in both parties question Trump’s seemingly warm ties with Erdogan.

More than a dozen members of Congress recently called on Trump to rescind his invitation to Erdogan, saying the Turkish leader’s actions should not be rewarded with a high-profile White House visit.

“President Erdogan’s decision to invade northern Syria on October 9 has had disastrous consequences for U.S. national security, has led to deep divisions in the NATO alliance, and caused a humanitarian crisis on the ground,” House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., wrote Friday in a letter that was signed by 16 other lawmakers, including two Republicans.

“Now is a particularly inappropriate time for President Erdogan to visit the United States,” they wrote.

Article URL : https://amp.usatoday.com/amp/2563828001

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