ISTANBUL, Turkey (AFP) — Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan will travel to the United States next week to meet Donald Trump, the Turkish presidency said Wednesday, amid heightened tensions between the two countries.
In a telephone conversation, “the two leaders reconfirmed that they will meet in Washington on Wednesday, November 13, on President Trump’s invitation,” the Turkish presidency said.
Erdogan had threatened to cancel his visit due to disputes over the Syrian conflict and the US House of Representatives recognizing the mass killing of Armenians a century ago as genocide.
Trump issued a tweet saying he’d had a “very good call” with Erdogan and would “look forward” to hosting him.
Trump said that during the phone call, they discussed the Syrian-Turkish border, “the eradication of terrorism, the ending of hostilities with the Kurds, and many other topics.”
On the call, Erdogan also discussed the detention of the wife of the late Islamic State (IS) group leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who was killed during a US raid in Syria.
“He informed me that they have captured numerous ISIS fighters that were reported to have escaped during the conflict — including a wife and sister of terrorist killer al Baghdadi,” Trump tweeted, using an acronym for IS.
In his comments, Erdogan took a swipe at the United States, saying “we didn’t make a big fuss” about the capture of Baghdadi’s wife.
By contrast, he said, the United States “started a very big communication operation” after Baghdadi’s death.
The IS leader was killed in a US special forces operation carried out with the help of Kurdish fighters in the northwestern Syrian province of Idlib, just across the border from Turkey.
It came in the wake of a Turkish military offensive against the Kurdish forces, who have been a close ally of the West in the fight against IS, but are viewed as terrorists by Ankara.
© Agence France-Presse