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Analysis: How Erdogan Played Trump (Again) How Erdogan Played Trump (Again)...
Standing next to U.S. President Donald Trump in the White House’s East Room after a coveted Oval Office meeting on Wednesday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan got a rare opportunity to address the American public and millions of international viewers.
Despite Erdogan’s clear flouting of Western conventions—buying Russian military equipment, jailing journalists, launching a bloody invasion of northeastern Syria, and allegedly allowing his Syrian Arab proxies to commit war crimes unchecked—Trump dedicated most of his remarks to praising his Turkish counterpart.
“Turkey, as everyone knows, is a great NATO ally and a strategic partner of the United States around the world,” Trump said, thanking Erdogan for his efforts to uphold a cease-fire in northeastern Syria—though, in fact, the fighting has never actually ceased—and for Turkey’s “vital contributions” to operations in Afghanistan and against the Islamic State. (In fact, Turkey played no significant role in the death of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in a U.S. special operations raid just miles from Turkey’s border with Iraq.)
Trump did not mention the accusations of horrific war crimes and human rights abuses levied at Turkey’s Syrian Arab proxies during the incursion, including using white phosphorus-loaded munitions against civilians, executing prisoners, and targeting women and children.
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