Sun, 08 Dec 2019

U.S. President Donald Trump lauded his relationship with his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, as the two leaders met at the White House.

Trump's warm welcome of the Turkish president on November 13 comes as relations between the two NATO allies are at one of their lowest points in decades.

'We've been friends for a long time, almost from Day One. We understand each others' country,' Trump told Erdogan as they sat in the Oval Office.

He said the agenda of the talks would include two issues that have strained relations between the two countries: Turkey's military incursion into northeastern Syria to clear the area of U.S.-allied Kurdish fighters and Ankara's purchase of Russian S-400 missile-defense systems.

Before flying to Washington, Erdogan acknowledged that he was making the visit "at a period when Turkish-American relations are going through a painful process."

The two countries hit a new crisis point last month over Syria, after Ankara launched a cross-border incursion to drive out a Kurdish militia, Washington's main partner in the fight against the Islamic State extremist group.

In July, Turkey received its first batch of S-400 missiles, prompting the United States to kick Ankara out of its F-35 fighter jet program.

Washington says the sophisticated weaponry is incompatible with NATO equipment.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AP

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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