Turkey’s Erdogan eyes Putin meeting to discuss US Syria withdrawal

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says he will probably meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss the U.S. withdrawal from Syria, Reuters reported Tuesday.

Erdogan did not provide a timing for the meeting, and Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the news service that Putin does not have immediate plans to meet with the Turkish leader.

Erdogan’s comments come after Turkey invited President Trump to visit in 2019. A spokesman for the Turkish president, Ibrahim Kalin, told reporters that Trump accepted the invitation, but that a date hasn’t been set yet.

{mosads}The White House, in confirming Erdogan extended the invitation, said there are no “definite” plans for a trip yet.

“While nothing definite is being planned, the president is open to a potential meeting in the future,” White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said Monday night.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu also said he will travel to Russia in the coming days to discuss Syria, according to Reuters.

Last week, Trump ordered the withdrawal of the 2,000 U.S. troops fighting ISIS in Syria.

The decision was roundly criticized by members of both parties and led to the resignations of Defense Secretary James Mattis and Trump’s special envoy to the anti-ISIS coalition, Brett McGurk.

Trump’s announcement came days after a phone call with Erdogan, who had been threatening to launch an attack against Syria’s U.S.-backed Kurdish forces, which Turkey considers terrorists.

While Trump first claimed victory against ISIS in announcing the troop withdrawal, he said on Sunday that Erdogan has promised to “eradicate” the terrorist group after U.S. troops leave.

“I just had a long and productive call with President @RT_Erdogan of Turkey. We discussed ISIS, our mutual involvement in Syria, & the slow & highly coordinated pullout of U.S. troops from the area. After many years they are coming home. We also discussed heavily expanded Trade,” Trump tweeted.

“President @RT_Erdogan of Turkey has very strongly informed me that he will eradicate whatever is left of ISIS in Syria….and he is a man who can do it plus, Turkey is right ‘next door.’ Our troops are coming home!” Trump added in another tweet.

Tags Donald Trump James Mattis

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