Trump hosting Turkey's Erdogan as tensions simmer

Though U.S. -Turkish relations may not be at risk in the short-term, Rubin predicted a "real crisis" with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation should Erdogan seek closer relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin given that the United States shares classified information with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation partners.

The Turkish government has also raised concerns about a USA criminal case against Reza Zarrab, a dual Turkish-Iranian national, arrested past year and charged with helping Iran process millions of dollar in transactions that violated US sanctions against Tehran.

The meeting comes weeks after Erdogan's narrow victory in a national referendum that will expand the powers of his office - a development critics say takes Turkey closer toward autocratic rule. So why is the pro-Erdo─čan media dropping hints that Turkey could cut its ties with the U.S.in an instant?

"The Turkish president expressed great interest in investment in our country", the Polish prime minister's office said in a statement, adding that Erdogan would like to see revenue from trade exchange grow to United States dollars 7-10 billion yearly. This was said by a U.S. official last December to have 45,000 fighters of whom 13,000 are Arabs and the rest Kurdish.

The White House meeting comes amid intense and complex worldwide diplomacy over the war in Syria, where Turkey and the United States both support forces in opposition to President Bashar al-Assad's government. But he asserted the US and Turkey's mutual commitment to ending Syria's conflict.

Turkey has tried to get the United States to extradite Gulen, but hasn't presented convincing evidence to US officials.

The U.S.is relying on regional allies including Turkey for intelligence-sharing and military assistance as it crafts a Syria policy, particularly as Iran and Russian Federation work to bolster Syrian President Bashar Assad's government. You know, President Erdogan will go home tomorrow on his airplane basically after the meeting with Trump, and then he will hold a gaggle on the plane with sort of self-selected journalists. Turkey sees these militias, which are widely seen as the most effective fighting force on the ground, as an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, which is considered a terrorist group in the US, Turkey and Europe.

To the political and military establishment in the country, the PYD/PKK issue is a direct, strategic and long-term security threat. President Trump's skills as a dealmaker will never be more in demand as in the meeting with Erdogan.




Erdogan, meanwhile, also noted a change in Turkey as a result of the new US administration.

Erdogan hopes to change Trump's mind about arming the Kurdish group, he has said, but the president's advisors say he is unlikely to budge. And by supplying heavy weapons to the YPG, which will remain in their hands after the Raqqa operation is over, Washington has raised the likelihood of a Kurdish state in northern Syria after the war.

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 leader said that Turkey had "notified our friends" about Gulen's alleged involvement in the coup.

Trump made news last month by phoning Erdogan to congratulate him on a referendum in Turkey that furthered Erdogan's power. The decision has pitted the two main US allies in the Syrian war against each other.

In the Oval Office, Pres Trump calls it a "great honor" to have meeting with Pres Erdogan - but mispronounced his name. "We do not think that we need to abyhow intensify this work", Putin said.

The controversial Turkish cleric is seen by his followers as an enlightened leader and by the ruling party in Turkey as a unsafe enemy and traitor.

Doing so "could be a risk for our sources", said the official, who spoke on condition that neither he nor his country be identified, because he wasn't authorized to discuss the matter publicly.

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