- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 4, 2019

President Trump met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for about 30 minutes early Wednesday and discussed “the importance of Turkey fulfilling its alliance commitments,” the White House said, as Ankara faces criticism for purchasing a Russian air-defense system that’s incompatible with its membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

The leaders also discussed energy, ways to boost bilateral trade by $100 billion and security challenges in the region.

Mr. Erdogan recently attacked American-allied Kurdish fighters in northern Syria. Turkey considers some of the fighters to be terrorists.

The assault caused a major firestorm in the U.S., because Mr. Trump withdrew U.S. forces in the way of the attack. He later took credit for a cease-fire and the establishment of a “safe zone” along the Turkish-Syrian border.

“We discussed the Kurds. We discussed numerous things, and we’re getting along very well,” Mr. Trump said. “The border and the safe zone is working out very well. And I gave a lot of credit to Turkey for that. The cease-fire is holding very much so, and I think people are surprised.”



“Maybe someday they’ll give me credit, but probably not,” he added. “They’ve been trying to work this out for 100 years. That border is a mess for a long time. We pulled our soldiers out and took over the oil. We have soldiers where the oil is. And that’s the way I like it.”

The Turkish president released photos of his meeting with Mr. Trump in London before the White House confirmed the sit-down and offered a readout.

The White House also said Mr. Trump and U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson met at 10 Downing Street late Tuesday to reaffirm the “special relationship” between the U.S. and Britain and discuss their priorities for NATO.

They also discussed trade and security issues and the importance of using reliable partners in their telecommunications networks.

Mr. Trump is meeting with leaders from Germany, Denmark and Italy during the second day of the NATO summit in London.

Meanwhile, a video floating around Twitter appears to show major leaders — notably Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, French President Emmanuel Macron and Mr. Johnson — chatting and laughing about how Mr. Trump’s impromptu press conferences during their bilateral sit-downs make them late for other events.

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