Donald Trump to hold tense talks with Turkish president at the White House

US President Donald Trump will meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the White House today. Military relations between

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Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post

US President Donald Trump will meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the White House today.

Military relations between Washington and Ankara have been tense since Turkey launched its third military incursion into northeast Syria last month in an attempt to drive Kurdish YPG fighters from its border. After seizing land along 120 kilometres of its border with Syria, Turkey struck a deal with the US and Russia to keep Kurdish militias out of the area.

Today, the US President is expected to confront Erdogan on another point of tension. To the disdain of Washington, Ankara recently purchased a Russian S-400 air defence system. The US contends that the system is not compatible with NATO forces and could compromise the US-Turkey military collaboration.

If Erdogan fails to convince Trump that the air defence system will not create a conflict of interest, the US has signalled its willingness to levy sanctions. Moreover, in the likely event that, after Trump’s meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg set for Thursday, NATO concurs with American concerns related to the Turkish air defence system, US resolve to move forward with sanctions will strengthen.

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