(November 12, 2019 / JNS) A group of 17 members of the U.S. House of Representatives has called on U.S. President Donald Trump to cancel Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s visit to the White House on Wednesday.
In a letter, the 15 House Democrats—led by House Foreign Affairs Chairman Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.)—and two Republicans said that Turkey’s invasion of northeastern Syria last month after U.S. forces withdrew should disqualify the Turkish leader from visiting as “Turkish forces have killed civilians and members of the Syrian Democratic Forces, a critical U.S. partner in the fight against ISIS, and displaced over one hundred thousand people from their homes in northern Syria.”
The letter cited Erdoğan being “closer” to Russian President Vladimir Putin, including purchasing the S-400 air-missile defense system instead of the F-35 fighter jets from the United States, and his taking other steps antithetical to U.S. interests.
“Given this situation, we believe that now is a particularly inappropriate time for President Erdoğan to visit the United States, and we urge you to rescind this invitation,” wrote the lawmakers, including Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.).
Last month, the House overwhelmingly voted to condemn Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. forces from northern Syria—a decision that since been walked back a bit.
It also passed both a resolution recognizing the Armenian genocide and a bill to enact U.S. sanctions against Turkey for its incursion this month into northern Syria.
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