President Trump on Tuesday pledged continued support for Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan, highlighting the importance of the U.S.-Turkish alliance despite mounting tensions over Washington’s support for Kurdish rebels in Syria.
Speaking alongside Erdogan at the White House, Trump said Turkey and the United States would act together against extremist groups including the Islamic State. “Again, we seek to face this threat together,” he told reporters.
Trump welcomed Erdogan, fresh off a narrow electoral victory that granted him wide-ranging new powers, to Washington just a week after the Pentagon announced a plan to directly arm Kurdish militiamen in Syria for the first time.
While Erdogan’s government had long warned U.S. officials against expanding support for the People’s Protection Units (YPG), empowering a group Turkey sees as an existential threat, the warm public remarks from both leaders reflect the NATO allies’ need to hold together a key partnership at a time of intense strain.
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