Trump invites Turkey's Erdogan and GOP senators to White House meeting

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and US President Donald Trump wait for a meeting at the Palace Hotel during the 72nd United Nations General Assembly

Trump invites Turkey's Erdogan and GOP senators to White House meeting

A long list of actions by Turkey - a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally - has troubled Congress and human rights organizations.

"We've had a great relationship with the Kurds", Trump said, noting they had "fought together" against Daesh and that the Daesh captives who escaped during the Turkish attack last month were all recaptured by Turkish forces.

Erdogan and Trump had a hard agenda for their talks: Turkey's decision to buy a Russian air defense system despite Turkey's membership in North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and its incursion into neighboring Syria to attack Kurdish forces that have fought with the USA against the Islamic State group.

It is unclear what the president meant. Erdogan has manipulated elections to stay in power, according to pro-democracy organizations in Ankara.

House Republicans joined in the condemnation of Turkey's leader.

Meanwhile, President Trump has said he plans to discuss Turkey's purchase of Russian S-400 missile defense systems in July despite USA sanctions.

The irony of Turkey's partial invasion of northeastern Syria is that Ankara now finds itself in the same situation as the very Syrian Kurdish YPG militia that it has been fighting.

"We're going to be expanding", Trump said. Asked whether he was anxious about ISIS fighters being able to flee amid the chaos of a Turkish operation, the president replied: "They're going to be escaping to Europe. I urge congressional leadership to seek a full accounting of discussions".

"These sanctions are specifically created to target the Turkish officials and institutions responsible for the bloodshed in Syria without senselessly hurting the Turkish people", House Foreign Relations Committee chairman Elliot Engel said in a floor speech preceding the 403-16 vote that passed the measure. "President Erdogan must reverse course and recommit to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and our bilateral partnership".

The White House called it a "legislative engagement".

While the man stood in the buffer zone, Mr Erdoğan took the opportunity to warn that he would continue to release the estimated 1,200 suspected foreign jihadists they are holding in their custody.

Erdogan was asked a question about his attitude with regards to Muhammed Fethullah Gülen, a Turkish preacher and leader of the Gülenist movement, which the Turkish government regards as a terrorist group and which Erdogan holds responsible for the 2016 attempted coup d'etat against him.

"Review your attitude toward a country which keeps so many Daesh (so-called IS) members in prisons and similarly controls them on the Syrian side", Erdogan said.

Trump administration officials have said Trump told Turkey not to invade Syria.

After his visit to the United States, Erdogan plans to hold talks on Syria with Russian President Vladimir Putin. "Many people know it", Kobani told Sky News. Four Turkish security guards remain under criminal indictment in Washington but were rushed out of the country before they could be detained. Erdogan also faces damaging allegations of corruption within his inner circle emerging from a USA court case opened last month against state-run bank Halkbank over an Iran sanctions busting scheme.

"The Erdogan regime's use of violence against civilians anywhere is inhumane, uncivilized, and unacceptable", she wrote in a letter demanding that the State Department bar any of the "thugs" involved from returning.

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