On Friday morning, still seemingly unaware of the fact that Twitter is not the place for announcements like this one, President Trump announced that he was going to call Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to discuss instability in the Middle East.
He wrote on Twitter:
‘Will be speaking to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey this morning about bringing peace to the mess that I inherited in the Middle East. I will get it all done, but what a mistake, in lives and dollars (6 trillion), to be there in the first place!’
Trump’s call with Erdogan is suspicious from the outset, considering the timing, since it was just revealed that former presidential national security adviser Michael Flynn had seemingly cut a deal with Special Counsel Robert Mueller. (The New York Times reported that Flynn’s lawyers had told the Trump team they would stop sharing information with them.) Flynn has deeply set connections to the Turkish government, having secretly been paid by them to do lobbying work in the U.S. on their behalf.
That’s not the only issue with Trump’s call with Erdogan, though. Although the White House has not seemingly commented on the issue yet, the Turks are claiming that Trump pledged to stop arming Kurdish fighters in Syria, who are assisting in the military takedown of ISIS.
The Associated Press reports:
‘At his Florida resort for a long Thanksgiving weekend, Trump spoke by phone with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan “about bringing peace to the mess that I inherited in the Middle East,” he said in a tweet. A Turkish official said Trump agreed the U.S. would no longer arm Syrian Kurdish fighters — a claim not verified by the White House.’
Business Insider’s Natasha Bertrand tweeted a part of the Turkish government’s statements, writing on Twitter:
‘Turkey’s foreign minister says Trump pledged to stop arming the Kurds. “Mr. Trump clearly stated that he had given clear instructions and that the YPG won’t be given arms and that this nonsense should have ended a long time ago.” WH hasn’t issued its own readout yet.’
The Kurds have been an immense help in the military side of the fight against the Islamic State — and yet Trump is really that willing to just abandon them because a dictator wants him to?
The Turkish government is critical of Kurdish fighters in Syria because of the fighters’ affiliation with a Kurdish rebel group in Turkey. This group repeatedly finds itself in open armed conflict with the Turkish government.
Trump’s alleged insistence that the “nonsense” of the U.S. arming Kurdish rebel forces in Syria would stop isn’t even the first time that Trump has suckered up to Turkey’s dictatorial leader. Earlier this year, the Turks held a vote, described by CNN as “plagued by irregularities,” on a referendum to give Erdogan more power. Unsurprisingly, the measure passed — and rather than sticking with the international consensus on the election, Trump placed a congratulatory call to Erdogan after the vote.
Featured Image via Mikhail Metzel\TASS via Getty Images