WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan failed to reach an agreement on major bilateral differences during their meeting at the White House.
In a joint press conference after the meeting, Trump said Turkey’s purchasing of the S-400 missile system from Russia “creates some very serious challenges.”
“We are talking about it constantly, we talked about it today, we’re talking about it in the future,” Trump said, indicating that the United States failed to persuade Turkey to abandon its purchasing of the system.
Trump stressed his good relationship with Kurdish forces in Syria, which are viewed as a threat by Ankara.
Erdogan also said the two sides were unable to reach an agreement but pledged to carry out further dialogue.
During the meeting, which was also attended by U.S. lawmakers, Republican Senator Ted Cruz challenged Erdogan on the issue of S-400 and Turkey’s Kurdish policy.
“We very much hope Turkey changes the path it’s on and does not employ the S-400,” Cruz said. “We do not want to see Turkey engaged in offensive action against the Kurds.”
“I’m hoping to salvage this relationship, but only time will tell if that is possible,” U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham said in a statement after meeting with Erdogan.
Before Erdogan’s visit, U.S. State Department officials acknowledged that the two countries were “at loggerheads” on many issues.
This is Erdogan’s second visit to the White House after Trump assumed the presidency in 2017.
Meanwhile, Visiting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Wednesday that he has returned a letter from U.S. President Donald Trump that urged him not to be “a fool” on attacking Syria.
“This letter was represented to Mr. President this afternoon,” Erdogan told a press conference after meeting with Trump at the White House, adding, “we gave back the letter that we have received.”
On Oct. 9, Trump wrote a letter to Erdogan, urging him to exercise restraint in deploying military forces in Syria against Kurdish forces.
“Don’t be a tough guy. Don’t be a fool!” Trump wrote at the end of the letter.
The letter, which was leaked to the public days after it was penned, went viral on social media and received a backlash for its unconventional language style. It failed to stop Erdogan from ordering his troops to enter Syria.
Previous reports by the BBC suggested that Erdogan threw the letter “in the bin” upon receiving it.–Agencies