White House Fact Sheet: President Donald J. Trump Is Committed to Direct Engagement and Diplomacy with Turkey
American and Turkish peoples have been friends and allies for many, many decades.
President Donald J. Trump
ENGAGING ON CRITICAL ISSUES: President Donald J. Trump is working to advance America’s important relationship with Turkey.
Today, President Trump welcomed President Erdogan at the White House for bilateral discussions on a range of important issues.
Direct engagement and diplomacy between our nations are essential to addressing the challenges facing the United States-Turkey bilateral relationship.
Turkey’s cooperation is crucial to protecting United States interests in the region and beyond.
The United States-Turkey relationship has benefitted both of our countries for more than 90 years.
A CRITICAL NATO ALLY: Turkey is a critical NATO Ally, and our continued cooperation is important for American interests in the region and beyond.
The United States and Turkey work together on numerous security issues in the Middle East and around the globe.
Within NATO, Turkey has the second largest armed forces and has raised its defense spending with the goal of reaching its 2 percent of GDP minimum obligation.
Turkey has been a critical partner in the fight to annihilate the ISIS caliphate.
Turkey’s continued engagement remains essential in ensuring ISIS is never allowed to reconstitute.
Turkey continues to make important contributions to NATO’s Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan.
Turkey is a significant partner for foreign military sales, which total in the billions of dollars.
Turkey is not only a purchaser of American military equipment, but it is a supplier of component parts for dozens of critical United States and NATO defense programs.
In order to achieve progress on other fronts, it is vital that we resolve the issues involving Turkey’s purchase of the Russian S-400 air defense system, strengthening our defense partnership.
GROWING AND BALANCING ECONOMIC TIES: President Trump is working to expand commerce and achieve fair and balanced trade between the United States and Turkey.
The United States encourages Turkey to further open its markets to American goods and services, and ensure a level playing field for our trade relationship.
Turkey has enormous potential as a trading partner of the United States.
Recognizing this opportunity, our two countries are working together to achieve a goal of $100 billion in bilateral trade annually.
Turkey has been an important and growing destination for American investment.
American investment in Turkey totaled $4.7 billion in 2018; a 9 percent increase over the previous year.
Turkey has also been an important source of investment in the United States with $2.4 billion in investments in 2018.
Oval Office: Remarks by President Trump and President Erdoğan of Turkey Before Bilateral Meeting
Video (Link won’t copy&paste):
12:14 P.M. EST
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Okay. Thank you very much. It’s a great honor to be with President Erdoğan and Mrs. Erdoğan. Thank you very much. We very much appreciate you being here. First Lady, thank you very much. And I know you’re going to go out to lunch after this. Great honor to have you.
The border is holding very well. The ceasefire is holding very well. We’ve been speaking to the Kurds, and they seem to be very satisfied.
As you know, we’ve pulled back our troops quite a while ago, because I think it’s time for us not to be worried about other people’s borders. I want to worry about our borders. We’ve got plenty of borders to worry about.
I want to thank the President for the job they’ve done. Again, this has been thousands of years in the process, between borders, between these countries and other countries that we’re involved with, 7,000 miles away. So, we want to worry about our things.
We’re keeping the oil. We have the oil. The oil is secure. We left troops behind, only for the oil.
And I have to just finish by saying that the President and I have been — we’ve been very good friends. We’ve been friends for a long time, almost from day one. And we understand each other’s country. We understand where we’re coming from. I understand the problems that they’ve had, including many people from Turkey being killed in the area that we’re talking about. And he has to do something about that, also. It’s not a one-way street.
So, I just want to say it’s a great honor to have you both and thank you very much. Thank you.
PRESIDENT ERDOĞAN: Thank you.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: You, go ahead, please. Would you like to say something?
PRESIDENT ERDOĞAN: Thank you. (As interpreted.) Well, Mr. President, thank you. In a few moments, we shall be having a larger-scale press meeting, that’s why I don’t feel the need to come up with longer statements here.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Okay.
PRESIDENT ERDOĞAN: Thank you.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Okay, well, that was good. That’s good. It’s true. A lot of truth to that.
I will say, we’re also talking about a trade deal. We do, proportionately, very little trade with Turkey. They make great product. We make the greatest product in the world. And, frankly, we’re going to be expanding our trade relationship very significantly. We think we could be doing $100 billion with Turkey. And right now we’re doing about $20 billion. But we think that number should be easily $100 billion, which would be great for Turkey and good for us.
So, we’re going to be expanding. We have our people from Commerce here. That’s one of the meetings we’ll be having. And having that big relationship, I think, is a very good one. So, we think we can bring trade up very quickly to about $100 billion between our countries. Okay?
Q What do you do, Mr. President, about the S-400s, in terms of getting that trade deal?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: We’ll be talking about it, John. We’ll talking about the S-400. We’ll be talking about that and we’ll be talking about the F-35 fighter jet, too.
Q Are you satisfied with the ISIS fighters that Turkey is keeping an eye on? Are you happy so far with the progress?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Turkey is watching the ISIS fighters. When I became President, ISIS was all over the place. I had no idea to the extent. In fact, it was shown to me about a month ago. We came in. It was a mess. And we took over 100 percent of the caliphate.
And, last week, as you know, we killed its leader and its founder. And we’re very proud of that fact. And we’ve also knocked out number two. And we have our eye out on number three, who was supposed to become number one, but he’s running right now. He’s running for his life, but we have our sights right on him.
So, we are — we’re doing very well. ISIS is very much — very much a factor that’s different than it was when I took over. When I took over, thousands and thousands of ISIS fighters were all over. Now they’re mostly imprisoned.
I will say, the Kurds are watching over them and Turkey is also watching over them. And Turkey recently has captured over 100 ISIS fighters and they are taking care of them.
Q Is there any way, Mr. President, that Turkey can possess both S-400s and F-35s? Or are those things mutually exclusive?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, John, we’re going to be talking about that. So, we’ll — we’ll talk about it. We may report to you later on about that because we’re having a second meeting in a little while.
So, we’ll see you in a little while. We’re going to be having press conference of sorts in a little while. It’s an honor to have the President and Mrs. Erdoğan with us, and they’re highly respected in their country and in the region. And we’ll see what we can do. But the relationship that we’ve had is good.
And, you know, I’ve heard all the pundits — three, four, five weeks ago. They were against what I’ve — what I did. Now, all of a sudden, they’re saying, “Wow. That’s really working well. Why are we guarding other country’s borders? We want to take care of our country.” And they’re saying it really is surprising what’s happened. Plus, we have our troops out of there, and we’ll be bringing a lot of them back home. But again, we’re keeping the oil.
Thank you very much, everybody. Thank you.
Q Mr. President, have you watched the impeachment — have you watched any of the impeachment hearing?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you. No, I didn’t.
Q You didn’t watch any of it at all?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: I didn’t — I did not watch it.
Q Have you been briefed on what’s —
PRESIDENT TRUMP: I’m too busy to watch it. It’s a witch hunt. It’s a hoax. I’m too busy to watch it. So, I’m sure I’ll get a report.
Q Have you been briefed?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: There’s nothing — there’s nothing — I have not been briefed, no. There’s nothing there. I see they’re using lawyers that are television lawyers. They took some guys off television, you know. I’m not surprised to see it because Schiff can’t do his own questions.
Thank you very much, everybody. Thank you.
Q Mr. President, have you decided to postpone auto tariffs? Are you postponing the decision on auto tariffs?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: I’ll make a decision fairly soon. I was full briefed and I’ll make a decision fairly soon.
12:21 P.M. EST
NPR (radio) Summary: Vague and not much resolved; sounds like more talks will be needed.
Me: The United States and Turkey must partner to fight terrorism. Trump notes problems of definitions of groups. Implicitly discerns between ISIS & Caliphate. We “captured 100%”; not clear exactly what in reference to. The US is great friends with the Kurds and our relationship is a very good one. Erdogan: We have no problem with Kurds—we have 40 Kurds in parliament—only terrorists.
Me (Editorial): Erdogan railed about war & terror. Trump clearly preferred to talk about money stuff. Erdogan was strangely disrespectful to the US. (I haven’t watched enough of these to know if it’s unusual or another new normal.) Trump wasn’t really paying much attention. NPR sounds about right.
OAN: Trump: Impeachment.
OAN: Trump:Syria-Repatriation of peoples
OAN: Erdogan: Will you protect Christians?
“A friendly person from Turkey”***: Trump: How do you undo the damage Obama did?
Ibid: Erdogan: How will we make IS understand how awful Fethullah [Gülen] is and to send him back?
FOXNews: Trump: Ukraine
FOXNews: Erdogan: Why did you ignore president’s letter of warning on Syria?
Kurdistan Reporter: Trump: What is your policy on the Kurds right now? Erdogan: Why are you not able to negotiate with the Kurds in Syria like happens in Iraq?
At 19m40s — 20m20s: POTUS starts nodding off and struggles not to before snapping out of it.
Transcript not yet available.
WHITE HOUSE TWEETS (TODAY-In Order)
CNN Press Conference Summary:
CNN: 5 key takeaways
5 key takeaways from Trump and Erdogan’s joint news conference
President Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan held a joint news conference this afternoon at the White House following a day filled with public testimonies in the impeachment inquiry.
Here are some of the big takeaways from the news conference:
- Trump slams the impeachment inquiry: Trump called the impeachment probe “a sham” that “shouldn’t be allowed.”
- Ukraine controversy: Trump said he knows nothing about new information revealed in today’s public impeachment hearing that places him closer to the center of a Ukraine pressure campaign. Trump, speaking at the White House, said he doesn’t recall a phone conversation with Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, in which Trump is said to have asked about “the investigations” into Joe Biden and his son Hunter.
- Another transcript: Trump said he’s releasing a transcript of a second call with his Ukrainian counterpart tomorrow. The President has been promising to release the transcript of his call with the Ukrainian president all week. The call took place in April before the July conversation which is at the heart of the impeachment inquiry.
- Ceasefire in Syria: Trump addressed the ongoing conflict in Syria, claiming “Turkey will continue to uphold what it’s supposed to uphold.”
- Armenian genocide: Erdogan addressed a recent House resolution acknowledging the Armenian genocide, suggesting that the legislation was bolstered by individuals sympathetic to the Kurdish forces who Turks regard as terrorists. The resolution recognized the genocide of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians during World War I, a move the Turkish government has long opposed.