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 TrumpTrump faces high stakes in meeting with Erdoğan amid impeachment drama Democrats worry they don't have right candidate to beat Trump Trump threatening to fire Mulvaney: report 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 PompeoTrump faces high stakes in meeting with Erdoğan amid impeachment drama Democrats warn State Dept against punishing individuals who testify in impeachment hearings Pompeo condemns 'deplorable' killings of Iraqi protesters 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.