Trump open to meeting with Erdoğan: White House

Trump open to meeting with Erdoğan: White House

Trump open to meeting with Erdoğan: White House

U.S. President Donald Trump is "open to a potential meeting in the future" with his Turkish counterpart, the White House said Dec. 24.

Earlier in the day, Turkish Presidential Spokesman İbrahim Kalın said Trump had accepted an invitation from President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to visit Turkey in 2019 during a phone call Sunday.

"Now we will work on the date," Kalın said at a press conference in Ankara.

White House Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley noted in the statement "nothing definite is being planned".

Sunday's "long and productive" phone conversation between the two leaders tackled the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria.

"We discussed ISIS, our mutual involvement in Syria, & the slow & highly coordinated pullout of U.S. troops from the area. After many years, they are coming home," Trump said on Twitter, using an alternate name for Daesh.

Trump announced plans last week to withdraw roughly 2,000 U.S. troops from Syria following a phone call with Erdoğan on Dec. 14 in which the two leaders agreed on the need for more effective coordination on the war-torn country.

The withdrawal comes on the eve of a possible Turkish military operation in northeastern Syria against the YPG, a U.S.-supported group that Ankara considers as the Syrian branch of the PKK, which is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU. Since 2016, Turkey has carried out two similar military operations in northern Syria.

The Turkish president last visited the White House in May 2017 and held a 50-minute-long meeting with his American counterpart on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Argentina in early December.