Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and President Donald Trump had their first telephone call late Tuesday, a highly anticipated conversation in which Erdogan was expected to press the new U.S. leader to reject Pentagon proposals to arm Kurdish fighters in Syria and to quickly extradite a Turkish cleric exiled in Pennsylvania and regarded by Turkey as an enemy of the state.
Trump may have preferred to change the subject.
Meeting either demand could be problematic for the administration, analysts said, testing a relationship between the two men that for months has been filled with high hopes and mutual admiration.
A brief White House statement said the two discussed their “shared commitment to combatting terrorism in all its forms.” It said that Trump “reiterated U.S. support to Turkey as a strategic partner and NATO ally, and welcomed Turkey’s contributions” to the campaign against the Islamic State.
During the U.S. presidential campaign, Trump referred in glowing terms to Erdogan’s handling of a failed coup attempt that shook Turkey last summer. He spoke optimistically about the bilateral relationship, telling the New York Times that he hoped Turkey “can do a lot” about the Islamic State.
Read the whole article from the Chicago Tribune.