Nov 13, 2019

Trump praises Turkey's Erdoğan as "great ally" despite Syria tensions

Dave Lawler, author of World

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and President Trump. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

President Trump lauded Turkey as a “great NATO ally” during a press conference with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Wednesday in which tensions between the countries simmered beneath the surface.

The big picture: Erdoğan's invasion of northern Syria last month sparked bipartisan outrage in Washington and came with the countries already locked in a dispute over Turkey’s purchase of a Russian s-400 missile system. Erdoğan was defiant on those points, and he lashed out over votes in the House of Representatives to back sanctions on Turkey and recognize the Armenian genocide.

What they’re saying: “I’m a big fan of the president,” Trump said, expressing a view that many in Washington do not share these days.

  • Erdoğan, for his part, repeatedly referred to Trump as “my dear friend,” while drawing a distinction between the president and others in Washington whom he accused of attempting to “dynamite” the relationship.
  • Erdoğan reiterated his plan to repatriate 2 million Syrian refugees in the “safe zone” he’s attempting to establish across the Syrian border. Experts say that plan violates international law.
  • Trump echoed Erdoğan's claims that European countries haven’t done enough to help Turkey shoulder the migrant burden from Syria, or to take back ISIS captives.
  • Trump’s most jarring remark was perhaps that Erdoğan has “a great relationship with the Kurds,” apart from “some factions.” Erdoğan insisted that Turkey was “just fighting terrorists,” not the Kurdish people.

What to watch: Trump did note that the s-400 issue “creates some very serious challenges for us,” and he said top officials from both countries were working to resolve it.

  • While Trump claimed the ceasefire in northern Syria was holding, meanwhile, Erdoğan said Turkey's troops continue to come under attack.

Worth noting: Erdoğan was asked about a letter from Trump, sent prior to the Syria invasion, urging him not to “be a tough guy.” He replied: “We gave back the letter that we have received.”

Go deeper: Top diplomat says U.S. abandoned Kurds to "catastrophic" Turkish assault

Go deeper

Updated 12 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Updates: George Floyd protests nationwide

Police officers wearing riot gear push back demonstrators outside of the White House on Monday. Photo: Jose Luis Magana/AFP via Getty Images

Protests over the death of George Floyd and other police-related killings of black people continued for a seventh day across the U.S., with President Trump threatening on Monday to deploy the military if the unrest continues.

The latest: New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted early Tuesday that he'd just left the Bronx and the police commissioner was sending additional assistance to problem areas. Protesters were "overwhelmingly peaceful" Monday, he said. "But some people tonight had nothing to do with the cause + stole + damaged instead," he added.

2 hours ago - Technology

Civil rights leaders blast Facebook after meeting with Zuckerberg

Screenshot of an image some Facebook employees used as part of their virtual walkout on Monday.

A trio of civil rights leaders issued a blistering statement Monday following a meeting with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and other top executives to discuss the social network's decision to leave up comments from President Trump they say amount to calls for violence and voter suppression.

Why it matters: While Twitter has flagged two of the president's Tweets, one for being potentially misleading about mail-in ballot procedures and another for glorifying violence, Facebook has left those and other posts up, with CEO Mark Zuckerberg saying he doesn't want to be the "arbiter of truth."

4 hours ago - Technology

Cisco, Sony postpone events amid continued protests

Screenshot: Axios (via YouTube)

Cisco said Monday night that it is postponing the online version of Cisco Live, its major customer event, amid the ongoing protests that have followed the killing of George Floyd.

Why it matters: Cisco joins Sony, Electronic Arts and Google in delaying tech events planned for this week.