President Donald Trump with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at White House on Wednesday
President Donald Trump with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at White House on Wednesday

Trump ignores impeachment drama at Capitol Hill, welcomes Erdogan at White House as 'friends'

ANI | Updated: Nov 14, 2019 04:51 IST

Washington D.C. [USA], Nov 14 (ANI): Ignoring the high-stake drama at a Democratic-led impeachment proceeding, President Donald Trump on Wednesday (local time) welcomed Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to the White House saying, "we've been friends for a long time."
The visit of the Turkish president comes a month after Ankara initiated a military offensive in northern Syria to drive back Kurdish forces and witnessing the American troops withdrawal from the region.
In the aftermath of the Turkish military operation, Trump had halted negotiations on a USD 100 billion trade deal with Turkey, raised steel tariffs back up to 50 per cent and imposed sanctions on three senior Turkish officials and Turkey's defence and energy ministries.
"We've been friends for a long time. We understand each other's country" Voice of America News quoted Trump as saying at the Oval Office, despite broad bipartisan opposition to the visit in Congress and concerns about Turkey's incursion into Syria.
The President also said that the US and Turkey would be entering a trade deal, according to CNN.
Trump wrote a letter to Erdogan last week offering a new trade deal and suggesting it was possible to avoid sanctions if the two countries can resolve some lingering disputes, including the purchase of the Russian missile system and the ceasefire in Syria, a senior administration official was quoted as saying.
Turkey had also recently upset America with the purchase of the S-400 missile defence system from Moscow. The purchase violated the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanction Act (CAATSA), which prohibits major purchases of Russian military hardware.
That also prompted the United States to eject Turkey from its F-35 joint strike fighter program.
"We'll be talking about the S-400. We'll be talking about the F-35 fighter jet," said Trump, when asked by reporters about the defence ties between the two countries.
The President, however, did not offer a condemnation of Turkey's incursion targeting America's Kurdish allies and did not bring up allegations of war crimes being committed by Turkish proxies.
"The ceasefire is holding very well, we've been speaking to the Kurds and they seem to be very satisfied," Trump said.
"As you know, we pulled back our troops quite a while ago because I think it's time for us not to be worried about other people's borders. I want to worry about our borders, we've got plenty of borders to worry about."
The diplomatic meet has convened on the same day when Democrats initiated an impeachment hearing against the President on Capitol Hill to determine whether the 45th president of the United States should be removed from office. (ANI)