Barely two months ago, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was one of President Trump’s biggest fans. Fed up with what he saw as the Obama administration’s wishy-washy Syria policy, its unwise alliance with Kurdish “terrorists” and its failure to understand the need for some of his authoritarian policies, Erdogan envisioned a new dawn in U.S.-Turkish relations.
But as he prepares to meet with Trump on Tuesday in Washington, Erdogan has been less than pleased.
Last week, his top military and intelligence officials traveled here for a final effort to stop the administration from arming Syrian Kurdish fighters for an upcoming offensive in Raqqa against the Islamic State, only to be told by their U.S. counterparts that a decision to do so had already been made.
At the same time, his justice minister brought new evidence to support Turkey’s long-standing extradition request for Fethullah Gulen, the Pennsylvania-based Turkish cleric Erdogan holds responsible for a failed coup attempt last July. The U.S. Justice Department thanked him and sent him away with no news of progress.
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