Washington, DC. In a move sure to send US-Russian relations even lower, the US has announced that Donald Trump will meet with Turkish Dictator Erdogan on matters of mutual interest.
American President Trump plans to meet next month with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, according to Turkish and US State Department officials, just weeks after Erdogan claimed victory in a referendum that vastly increased his powers and has been questioned by the opposition and international observers at the United Nations.
The Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Wednesday that the two leaders would sit down together before a NATO summit scheduled for May 29-30 in Brussels. A senior US official confirmed that the meeting was “likely to occur.” The official spoke on the condition of anonymity prior to an announcement.
Trump telephoned Erdogan on Monday to “congratulate” him on “his referendum victory” and to discuss last week’s US cruise missile strike on Syria and cooperation in the campaign there against the Islamic State, a White House statement said.
The White House statement made no mention of widespread international concerns, including by the State Department, about the erosion of democratic institutions under the referendum and allegations of human rights violations by the United Nations leading up to it.
America’s State Department statement on the referendum cited “observed irregularities on voting day and an uneven playing field during the difficult campaign period, which took place during a state of emergency. We look to the government of Turkey to protect the fundamental rights and freedoms of all its citizens,” the statement said.
The Russian Foreign Ministry in Moscow had no comment on the invitation.