Erdoğan confirms he will meet with Pence after initial confusion

A spokesman for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Wednesday confirmed that the president would meet with Vice President Pence during their trip to Ankara amid bipartisan backlash in the U.S. over President TrumpDonald John TrumpHR McMaster says president's policy to withdraw troops from Afghanistan is 'unwise' Cast of 'Parks and Rec' reunite for virtual town hall to address Wisconsin voters Biden says Trump should step down over coronavirus response MORE's decision to withdraw troops from Syria.

The announcement came after initial confusion following an interview Erdoğan gave to Sky News in which he appeared to say he would talk only to Trump.

The spokesman Fahrettin Altun later clarified Erdoğan's statement, confirming that the Turkish president does plan to meet with Pence and Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoHillicon Valley: FBI chief says Russia is trying to interfere in election to undermine Biden | Treasury Dept. sanctions Iranian government-backed hackers Treasury Dept. sanctions Iranian government-backed hackers The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by The Air Line Pilots Association - Pence lauds Harris as 'experienced debater'; Trump, Biden diverge over debate prep MORE on Thursday.

A senior administration official told USA Today that Pence and Pompeo plan to threaten more sanctions against Turkey to convince Erdoğan to call a cease-fire in Turkey's offensive against the Kurds in Syria.


"We need them to stand down. We need a cease-fire, at which point we can begin to put this all back together again," Pompeo told Fox Business on Wednesday.

But Trump told reporters Wednesday that Turkey's offensive "has nothing to do with us" and is "not our problem." 

The offensive began after President Trump announced the removal of U.S. troops from Syria last week. Turkey has wanted to launch the offensive against the Kurds, U.S. allies who helped fight ISIS. Turkey associates the Kurds with a domestic terrorist group. 

In a phone call with Trump on Tuesday, Erdoğan said he would "never declare a cease-fire."

The House also passed a resolution Wednesday condemning Trump for pulling troops out of Syria after the president received bipartisan backlash for his decision.