Trump hosts Turkish leader Erdogan at White House for bilateral talks

President Donald Trump welcomes Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to the White House Wednesday, and the two will hold a bilateral meeting to discuss military operations in Syria.

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump welcome Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his wife Emine to the White House on Wednesday. Photo by Mike Theiler

Trump was roundly criticized in September when he announced a troop withdrawal from Syria as Turkey launched a military offensive against Kurdish forces in the northeast.

The leaders are also expected to address Erdogan’s recent purchase of a Russian S-400 defense system, which foiled a previous deal for Ankara to buy the new F-35 fighter jet from the Pentagon.

Turkey said this week it’s started the process of deporting foreign Islamic State fighters to their native countries, including one from the United States.

Wednesday will be Erdogan’s second visit to Washington, D.C. He met with Trump in 2017 during a visit that also made headlines for skirmishes between his security detail and protesters demonstrating to support Kurdish allies outside the residence of the Turkish ambassador. Charges were filed against seven of Erdogan’s bodyguards, but they were later dropped.

Trump and Erdogan will speak to reporters at a joint news conference around 3 p.m. EST.

ByClyde Hughes