Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrived at the White House to hold a meeting with US President Donald Trump as well as select senators, a meeting set to focus on bilateral relations and foreign policy issues, including Syria.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrived at the White House on Wednesday to hold meetings with his American counterpart.
Erdogan arrived midday for meetings with US President Donald Trump the White House scheduled for more than three hours, and which are to be followed by a joint news conference.
Trump is scheduled to meet select senators before the news conference begins, and reports have suggested that Erdogan will also take part. The US president's public schedule notes only that Trump is to participate in the "legislative engagement."
The meeting is expected to cover bilateral relations and foreign policy issues, including Syria.
A 'very good friend'
Addressing reporters in the Oval Office alongside their respective first ladies, Trump said he understands "the problems Turkey faces," and added, "we have to do something about that.” He called Erdogan a "very good friend."
The US president said the sides will discuss trade, saying Turkey "makes great product" and "we're going to be expanding our trade relationship very significantly."
"We think we could be doing $100 billion with Turkey, and right now we're doing about $20 billion," said Trump as he prepared to head into a meeting with Erdogan, and first ladies Emine Erdogan and Melania Trump.
Increasing the trade volume, Trump said "would be great for Turkey and good for us."
Prior to departing Ankara, Erdogan said Turkey's military operation in northern Syria and the fight against the Fetullah Terror Organisation (FETO) would be among major topics addressed during the meeting.
The Turkish president said counterterrorism, especially security issues of common concern, military and defense industry cooperation, as well as economic and commercial relations will also be addressed.
Erdogan last visited Washington in 2017.
Erdogan calls Macron's NATO comments 'unacceptable'
President Erdogan slammed as "unacceptable" recent remarks on NATO by French leader Emmanuel Macron, who claimed the alliance was experiencing "brain death" and criticised Turkey's anti-terror Operation in northern Syria.
Hosting his counterpart in the Oval Office, US President Donald Trump said Erdogan was "very disappointed in the statement made by France" regarding NATO.
"I think that bothered the president very much," Trump said. "I think a lot of other people feel that way too."
"Unacceptable," added the Turkish leader, speaking through an interpreter.
In an interview earlier this month, the French president decried what he called a lack of coordination between Europe and the United States and lamented recent unilateral action in Syria by Turkey, a NATO member.
"You have no coordination whatsoever of strategic decision-making between the United States and its NATO allies. None," Macron told The Economist.
Macron also said that while "it's not in our interest" to expel Turkey from the alliance – as has been urged by some politicians – members states should "reconsider what NATO is."
This is a developing story and will be updated.