After a controversial meeting at the White House between United States President Donald Trump and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Trump announced he’s a “big fan” of Erdogan. This came at the same time Republican Senator Lindsey Graham blocked a resolution that would have formally recognised the Armenian Genocide.
US President Trump’s warm welcome towards the Turkish President came amid anger from the United States Congress who regarded the visit too soon after Ankara’s attack on Syria.
After a 3-hour meeting, Erdogan and Trump held a joint press conference with Trump stating: “Turkey is a great NATO ally and a strategic ally of the United States.”
“I’m a big fan of the President, to tell you that, and I know that the ceasefire, while complicated is moving forward, and moving forward at a very rapid clip,” added Trump.
During their meeting, Trump repeatedly told Erdogan it was “an honor” to host him and stressed they had a great friendship while praising the Turkish President.
“You’re doing a fantastic job for the people of Turkey,” Trump said, adding that Erdogan has a “great relationship with the Kurds,” a group Turkey has deemed terrorists.
“I think the president has a great relationship with the Kurds,” Trump said, gesturing to Erdogan during a joint press conference at the White House.
“Many Kurds live currently in Turkey, and they’re happy and taken care of,” Trump said, “including health care and education and other things.”
According to a senior administration official, Trump last week wrote a letter to Erdogan offering a new trade deal and suggesting it was possible to avoid sanctions if the two countries resolve some disputes, including the purchase of the Russian missile system and the ceasefire in Syria.
In a move that followed Trump and Erdogan’s meeting, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham blocked a resolution that would have formally recognised the Armenian Genocide.
Senator Robert Menendez asked for consent to pass the resolution that would have provided “official recognition and remembrance” of the Armenian genocide.
“The United States foreign policy must reflect an honest accounting of human rights abuses, crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing and genocide. We cannot turn our backs on the Armenian victims of genocide,” he said.
However, Graham objected to passing the resolution in the Senate, saying senators shouldn’t “sugarcoat history or try to rewrite it.”
Graham’s objection came hours after he took part in the White House meeting with Trump, Erdogan and a group of GOP senators.
“I just met with President Erdogan and President Trump about the problems we face in Syria by the military incursion by Turkey. I do hope that Turkey and Armenia can come together and deal with this problem,” said Graham, adding that he was objecting “not because of the past but because of the future.”
*Watch the joint press conference here-