Will they, won’t they? Erdogan says he won’t meet US delegation, will only speak to Trump, walks back hours later
The delegation, which also includes Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, is going to talk to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan about stopping Ankara’s ongoing military incursion in northeastern Syria, Pompeo told US media.
The Turkish leader, however told Sky News he had no intention of offering a face-to-face meeting and would only talk to his American counterpart Donald Trump.
Turkey's president @RTErdogan tells @AlexCrawfordSky he will not speak with the US Vice President about a ceasefire in Syria during his visit - adding that he will only talk to President @realDonaldTrump.Follow the latest world news here: https://t.co/l50mLoSc4wpic.twitter.com/o5NjsNzt2r— Sky News (@SkyNews) October 16, 2019
But a couple of hours later his position apparently changed. Erdogan’s communications director, Fahrettin Altun, said his boss was referring to another US delegation, which was already in Ankara.
Earlier today, the President told @SkyNews that he won’t receive a U.S. delegation that is visiting Ankara today.He does plan to meet the U.S. delegation led by @VP tomorrow — as confirmed in the below statement to the Turkish press. pic.twitter.com/vlqgzqnvEk— Fahrettin Altun (@fahrettinaltun) October 16, 2019
The Turkish campaign was launched after Trump ordered the withdrawal of US troops from positions under control of Syrian Kurdish militias, which Ankara calls terrorists. Trump earlier threatened to hit Turkey with crippling economic sanctions, should he decide that Erdogan was stepping out of line in Syria. But Turkey remained defiant and said it was defending itself from a terrorist threat and that other NATO members should have helped instead of criticizing it.
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