President Erdogan invites Trump to visit Turkey in 2019: WH
Washington, Dec 25: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has invited Donald Trump to visit his country next year, the White House has said, confirming that the US President is open to a “potential meeting” even though nothing has been finalised as yet.
President Erdogan’s invite comes a day after Trump said his Turkish counterpart had assured him to he would “eradicate” the Islamic State (ISIS) terror group after the US leaves Syria.
“President Erdogan invited President Trump to visit Turkey in 2019. While nothing definite is being planned, the President is open to a potential meeting in the future,” White House Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley said on Monday.
However, a spokesman of Erdogan said that Trump has accepted his invitation.
Over the last few days, the US media reported that Erdogan was instrumental in Trump’s decision to withdraw troops from Syria.
Trump has argued that ISIS has been defeated and that Turkey can take care of the remnants of the ISIS in Syria.
Trump tweeted on Monday that he had a very good conversation with Erdogan.
“President Erdogan has very strongly informed me that he will eradicate whatever is left of ISIS in Syria….and he is a man who can do it plus, Turkey is right next door. Our troops are coming home,” he said.
The US will withdraw its troops from Syria, a US official said last week, after President Trump said America has “defeated ISIS” in the war-ravaged country.
The decision has been opposed by several lawmakers, even from the President’s his own Republican party.
Trump’s Defense Secretary James Mattis also resigned in protest.
Currently, about 2,000 US forces are in Syria, most of them on a train-and-advise mission to support local forces fighting ISIS.
Most US forces are stationed in northern Syria, though a small contingent is based at a garrison in Al-Tanaf, near the Jordanian and Iraqi border.
ISIS swept across large swaths of Syria and neighbouring Iraq in 2014, implementing their brutal interpretation of Islamic law in areas they controlled.