Trump and Erdogan to work toward finding Syria consensus

The meeting between Trump and Erdogan comes during an uproar in Washington over reports that the USA president disclosed sensitive information regarding Islamic State to senior Russian officials during a White House meeting last week.

As he pulled into the Blair House, supporters chanted Erdogan's name and "red and white", the colours of the Turkish flag. Trump, however, made no mention of the YPG, or People's Protection Units, and gave no sign that the US intends to change course from a plan to arm the group for the assault on the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa, Syria.

"We are protesting (Erdogan's) policies in Turkey, in Syria and in Iraq", said Flint Arthur of Baltimore, Maryland.

Erdogan's government is also demanding that the USA government extradite Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish cleric and political refugee who has lived in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania since the 1990s.

At a joint White House press conference, Mr Trump lauded Mr Erdogan as an important ally in the "fight against terrorism".

The Turks fear any weapons the USA provides the Syrian Kurds could well end up with their ethnic brethren in Turkey, who've fought violently as part of a separatist insurgency for more than three decades. Turkey has been pressuring the drop support for the militants and doesn't want them spearheading an operation to retake ISIS' self-declared capital of Raqqa. Turkey views the militia as an extension of the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, a separatist group that both Washington and Turkey consider a terrorist organization.

The Turkish leader said that Turkey had "notified our friends" about Gulen's alleged involvement in the coup.

Flynn's resignation came hours after it was reported that the Justice Department had warned the White House weeks earlier that Flynn could be vulnerable to blackmail for contacts with Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak before Trump took power on January 20.

But a face-to-face confrontation on the matter between Trump and Erdogan seems inevitable.

The US State Department, Turkish embassy, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser's office and multiple DC councilmembers did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Trump said it was a "great honor" to host Erdogan.

The Turkish government has also raised concerns about a USA criminal case against Reza Zarrab, a dual Turkish-Iranian national, arrested past year and charged with helping Iran process millions of dollar in transactions that violated US sanctions against Tehran.

Social media reports said the altercation was between Kurdish-American activists and Turkish security personnel. Biden's stance is widely seen as an attempt to pacify Erdogan's Turkey, alarmed by recent Kurdish gains against ISIS in Syria. After a national referendum last month that strengthened Erdogan's presidential powers, European leaders and rights advocates criticized Turkey for moving closer toward autocratic rule.

"President Erdogan was hopeful that he could make it clearer to President Trump why this order (to arm Syrian Kurds) that President Trump has signed is wrongheaded", he added.

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