Trump to meet with Turkey’s Erdoğan

Trump to meet with Turkey’s Erdoğan
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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will visit Washington on May 16, according to the White House. President Trump will meet with the Turkish leader at the White House during his visit.

"The two leaders will discuss how to further strengthen our bilateral relationship and deepen our cooperation to confront terrorism in all its forms," according to the White House statement.

Erdoğan earlier Wednesday strongly criticized Trump’s decision to arm Syrian Kurds in the fight against ISIS.

“I hope that this mistake will be reversed immediately,” he said of the move. "We want to believe that our allies would prefer [to] be side by side with ourselves rather than with the terror groups.”

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U.S. officials announced Tuesday that Trump signed off on a plan “to equip Kurdish elements of the Syrian Democratic Forces.”

The SDF will reportedly receive small arms and equipment for the fight to retake Raqqa from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

The group is a coalition of Arab and Kurdish fighters that has been working to isolate the city, which ISIS considers its de facto capital.

Ankara considers Syrian Kurds terrorists and an extension of outlawed Kurdish insurgents in Turkey.

A referendum broadening Erdoğan’s presidential powers narrowly passed in Turkey last month.

Erdoğan’s opponents cast the move as pushing Turkey, a democracy, closer to authoritarianism.

The White House said last month that Trump’s phone call to Erdoğan congratulating him on the referendum’s passage was not an endorsement of the measure.

“We want to encourage democracy,” spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said at the time. “And again, the purpose of the President’s call yesterday was not to discourage that but simply to talk about some of the things, like Syria, where they can work together."