By Steve Herman | VOA News |
WHITE HOUSE – U.S. President Donald Trump has declared that the Turkish invasion of northeast Syria is “has nothing to do with us.”
In the Oval Office on Wednesday morning, with Italian President Sergio Mattarella at his side, Trump added it is fine for Russia to help and he declared that the Kurds – defending their territory inside Syria against the Turkish military – are “not angels.”
Trump has been facing severe bipartisan criticism for having U.S. forces stand aside as the Turks moved into northeast Syria last week to attack the Kurds, who were allies of the United States in the campaign against Islamic State.
Imposing sanctions on Turkey is preferable to having U.S. military personnel in the region involved in the fighting, Trump told reporters, as a high level U.S. delegation heads to Turkey to press for a halt to Ankara’s invasion of northeast Syria.
Republican Senator Lindsey Graham criticized Trump’s latest comments regarding Turkey’ offensive in a series of tweets. ” I worry we will not have allies in the future against radical Islam, ISIS will reemerge, & Iran’s rise in Syria will become a nightmare for Israel. I fear this is a complete and utter national security disaster in the making and I hope President Trump will adjust his thinking,” he said. He also said the latest statements by Trump ” completely undercut” efforts by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to end the conflict.
Officials say Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan plans to meet with both Pence and Pompeo on Thursday in Ankara.
Officials say Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan plans to meet with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday in Ankara.
Erdogan had earlier told Sky News Pence and Pompeo would be meeting their Turkish counterparts this week. The Turkish leader added that when Trump comes to Turkey he would meet with him. His comments appeared to indicate he wouldn’t talk to Pence and Pompeo but Turkey’s communications director said Erdogan would in fact meet with both officials.