Nov 27 2018

Trump to meet Erdoğan at G20

U.S. President Donald Trump will meet Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan at the G20 meeting in Buenos Aires, starting on November 30, the White House has announced.

Erdoğan is one of the leaders Trump has set time aside to meet during the two-day summit, Trump’s National Security Adviser, John Bolton, told the press on Tuesday. 

The meeting with Erdoğan comes at the end of a difficult year for the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies’ bilateral ties. A diplomatic feud with the United States over Turkey’s imprisonment of U.S. pastor Andrew Brunson on espionage charges sent the Turkish lira’s value plummeting over the summer, and the two sides still disagree on matters ranging from Turkey’s purchase of Russian missile defence systems to the U.S. support for Syrian Kurdish militias viewed as enemies by Ankara.

The fate of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a prominent dissident killed in his country’s consulate in Istanbul in October, is another likely topic of discussion. Trump has confirmed his ongoing support for Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in spite of a series of leaks by Turkish officials suggesting the Saudi government ordered Khashoggi’s murder.

Trump will not meet Prince Mohammed, the de facto leader of Saudi Arabia, due to time constraints, Bolton said.

Trump’s adviser went on to reiterate the president’s support for Prince Mohammed, despite the existence of recordings documenting the killing of the journalist.

“The President has spoken to our position on this issue, he’s spoken very clearly, and that is our position,” said Bolton.

“I’m very satisfied that we know what the tape picked up, and it factored into his position,” he said.

Erdoğan has said the killing was ordered by the highest levels of the Saudi government, but has insisted that the King Salman bin Abdulaziz al Saud was not responsible.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu this week told German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung that Prince Mohammed had phoned Erdoğan to ask for a meeting at the G20 summit. Erdoğan has not committed to a meeting, Çavuşoğlu said.

Trump will also hold meetings with Argentinian President Mauricio Macri, President Moon Jae-in of South Korea, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India, Russian President Vladimir Putin, and Chinese President Xi Jinping during the summit.