Turkey’s president Recep Erodgan says he gave Donald Trump BACK the notorious letter in which U.S. president implored him: ‘Don’t be a tough guy. Don’t be a fool!’
- Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan was a problem guest at the White House
- He denied the Armenian Genocide ever occurred and said he returned a letter President Trump sent him about Turkey’s invasion of Syria
- ‘Don’t be a tough guy. Don’t be a fool!’ Trump wrote Erdogan after Syria invasion
- Erdogan said he gave the letter back to the White House
- ‘This letter was re-presented to Mr. President this afternoon,’ he said
- He also pushed for the extradition of the Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Erdogan claims engineered a failed 2016 coup
Turkey’s leader became a problematic White House guest on Wednesday — denying the Armenian Genocide ever occurred, demanding the U.S. hand over an Islamic cleric he regards as a terrorist coup-plotter, and complaining that America’s Kurdish allies in northern Syria are terrorists as well.
President Donald Trump stood alongside Recep Tayyip Erdogan and listened during a joint press conference in the East Room, with five hawkish Republican senators – including some critical of Turkey – sitting a few yards away.
In a final slap, Erdogan said he had rejected a famous letter from Trump urging him not to invade Syria, returning it to the president’s envoy.
it had initially been reported that Erdogan threw it in the trash.
Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan was a problem guest at the White House during his press conference with Donald Trump
Gave it back: This is the letter which Trump sent to Erdogan – and which the Turkish president said he had handed back to his U.S. counterpart
‘We have nothing to hide,’ Erdogan insisted, blasting Congress for recognizing mass killings of Armenians a century ago under the Ottoman Empire. About 1.5 million ethnic Ottoman Armenians were systematically killed between 1914 and 1923.
Erdogan said Wednesday that he was willing to ‘open the archives reciprocally’ with Armenia ‘and establish a history commission.’
‘I believe the [U.S.] Senate will take the United States out of this vicious cycle,’ he sniped, complaining that Congress has continued to draw global attention to a sore spot for Ankara.
Reality star Kim Kardashian, who is Armenian-American, has directly lobbied Trump on the issue during White House visits in the past year.
This month Kardashian praised the House of Representatives on Twitter for passing a resolution recognizing the genocide.
The genocide is just one of the areas that is subject of tension between the United States and Turkey.
Other topics that came up Wednesday include an Islamic cleric living in the U.S. that Turkey wants extradited and Ankara’s invasion of Syria, which sparked criticism from Republican lawmakers in Trump’s party.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, one of Turkey’s fiercest critics for its action in Syria, sat in the press conference and in an Oval Office meeting before hand. He expressed appreciation for the chance to speak with Erdogan.
‘I’ve never had an opportunity like this before. I appreciate it. The purpose of this meeting is to have an American civics lesson for our friends in Turkey. And there’s a pony in there somewhere if we can find it,’ Graham said in the Oval Office.
To which Trump replied: ‘And I think we will.’
But another bone Erdogan picked during the 40 minute press conference is his government’s long-term push for the extradition of the Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Erdogan claims engineered a failed 2016 coup.
The Turkish president said Wednesday that he had submitted ‘a great deal of documents and evidence’ about Gulen and his followers to the Trump administration, calling the Pennsylvania resident a ‘ringleader of [a] terrorist organization.’
‘They have killed 251 people in Turkey. They tried to undertake a coup against the government—the state—and more than 2,000 people have been injured. And the ringleader is living an on area of 400 acres in the United States running his network all around the globe,’ Erdogan claimed. ‘And this is something unacceptable.’
Trump turned a deaf ear to objections from members of Congress, including many Republicans, when he said he would roll out the red carpet for Erdogan.
The U.S.-Turkish relationship has been under severe strain following Erdogan’s ordering of an October invasion of US-allied Kurdish territory in northern Syria.
Trump ordered American troops stationed in the border area to withdraw ahead of the Turkish military action, while exhorting Erdogan in an extraordinarily undiplomatic letter to avoid too much bloodshed.
Turkey’s leader pushed for the extradition of the Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Erdogan claims engineered a failed 2016 coup
‘Don’t be a tough guy. Don’t be a fool!’ Trump wrote in the missive.
Erdogan was reported to have thrown it in the trash. On Wednesday he said he gave it back to Trump on Wednesday.
‘This letter was re-presented to Mr. President this afternoon,’ he said, emphasizing that ‘we gave back the letter that we have received.’
Trump’s troop withdrawal gave Turkey, a fellow NATO member, a green light for what could be an indefinite occupation of a large swath of Syria.
This outraged many in Congress, which saw the move as an abandonment of the Kurds, who died in large numbers while fighting alongside U.S. forces against ISIS jihadists there.
Trump said Wednesday that the U.S. has ‘a great relationship with the Kurds. We’re with them now. We get along with them.’
He also said Erdogan ‘has a great relationship’ with most Kurdish factions, calling talk of tensions ‘a misnomer.’
‘Many Kurds live currently in Turkey and they’re happy and they’re taken care of, including health care,’ he claimed.
‘We have no problems with the Kurds,’ Erdogan insisted. ‘We have problems with terrorist organizations. Some terrorists coming out of the Kurds.’
‘We’re just fighting terrorists, period,’ he said. ‘If they are a terrorist, that is a terrorist. If you don’t fight back then tomorrow you have to pay a very hefty price.’
President Erdogan also said he returned to the White House a letter President Trump wrote him after Turkey invaded Syria
There are several factions at work in the region with Kurdish roots, including some supported by the United States.
The Kurdistan Workers’ Party, known by the Kurdish acronym PKK, has the goal of creating an independent Kurdistan. Both the United States and Turkey have designated it a terrorist group.
The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) was founded in North Syria to protect the area from rising Islamic state. It’s mainly made up of ethnic Kurds and its formation was encouraged by the U.S.
Edorgan views the Kurd who fight with SDF as an extension of PKK terrorist group and has asked the U.S. to hand over its Syrian Kurdish commander Mazloum Kobani.
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