Erdogan backtracks, will meet Pence and Pompeo

Turkish president walks back refusal to meet with US VP, Secretary of State amid pressure, sanctions over attack on the Kurds.

Gary Willig,

Erdoğan
Erdoğan
Reuters

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan walked back his pledge to not meet with US Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Earlier Wednesday, Erdogan told Sky News that he would not meet with Pence and Pompeo when they visit Turkey tomorrow.

Later, Erdogan's communications director Fahrettin Altun tweeted that the Turkish president would meet the US officials.

Pompeo told Fox News that he and Pence still expected to meet with Erdogan even after the Turkish president said he would refuse to meet them.

Turkish soldiers last Wednesday launched a cross-border assault against Kurdish fighters Turkey sees as terrorists.

The operation was launched three days after Trump’s announcement of a withdrawal of US forces in northeastern Syria, leading to some accusations that Trump’s move was an authorization for Turkey to invade the region.

The Turkish attack is aimed at the US-allied YPG, the key component of the forces who fought Islamic State (ISIS). The group is seen by Ankara as a terrorist group linked to Kurdish separatist insurgents in Turkey.

On Monday, the White House announced that Trump will sign an executive order imposing sanctions on Turkey over its invasion of northern Syria.

On Tuesday night Erdogan stated that he would not bow to international pressure to declare a ceasefire.

“They say ‘declare a ceasefire’. We will never declare a ceasefire,” Erdogan declared. “They are pressuring us to stop the operation. They are announcing sanctions. Our goal is clear. We are not worried about any sanctions.”




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