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Turkish President Erdogan on two-day visit to US; Trump to discuss Syria, Russia air defence system

News Agencies | Updated on: 13 November 2019, 14:18 IST

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will meet US President Donald Trump at the White House on Wednesday amid tensions between the NATO allies over Syria and Ankara's purchase of a Russian air defense system.

Various disagreements are on the agenda for Erdogan's two-day visit to Washington starting on Wednesday, with Turkey's purchase of the Russian S-400 system and the country's military operation in northern Syria against American Kurdish allies, are set to be key issues.

Erdogan will try to avoid sanctions as the House of Representatives recently passed a sanctions bill aiming to punish Turkey for its Syrian incursion. The bill would curtail some arms sales to Turkey but grants the Trump administration the ability to issue waivers that would likely allow such sales to continue.

The high-profile meeting is being opposed by several members of Congress due to Turkey's attack on the Syrian Kurds. Another issue being NATO member Turkey's purchase of Moscow's S-400 missile defence system that trigger sanctions under US law.

Turkish sources say Trump and Erdogan have a strong bond despite anger in Congress over Turkey's Syria offensive and its purchase of Russian air defences, and despite what Ankara sees as the US president's own erratic pronouncements, Al Jazeera reported.

"Just had a very good call with President @RTErdogan 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 tweeted on November 6.

Turkey's incursion of Syria has met with broad bipartisan opposition in Congress and has led many lawmakers to call for a suspension of US arms supplies to Turkey.

The U.S. has already suspended Turkey from the F-35 fighter jet programme over its deal with Russia, which Washington had struggled for months to prevent.


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First published: 13 November 2019, 14:18 IST