It was never going to be the easiest encounter, but President Donald Trump’s planned meeting with Turkish strongman Recep Tayyip Erdogan this week has gotten even more awkward.
The pair will sit down at the White House on Tuesday to discuss how to “deepen our cooperation to confront terrorism in all its forms,” according to a Trump administration statement announcing the event.
That promises to be a tough challenge after Trump gave the Pentagon authorization to arm Kurdish militias in Syria to help drive ISIS out of Raqqa, a Syrian city which has been under the terror group’s control since 2014.
Turkey views the militia as an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has fought a deadly insurgency in southeast Turkey for many years and is considered a terrorist group by the United States, Turkey and Europe.
Ankara is vehemently opposed to Trump’s move and wants the decision reversed in favor of using its own forces.
It puts the NATO allies on a collision course over one of the biggest foreign policy issues.
“The fight against terrorism should not be lead with another terror organization,” Erdogan said Wednesday.
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SOURCE: NBC News, Alastair Jamieson