Turkish President Erdogan set to meet with US President Trump

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Turkish President Erdogan set to meet with US President Trump

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is heading to Washington at the invitation of U.S. President Donald Trump.

This week’s visit comes at a tense time for relations between Ankara and Washington just as Turkey and Russia begin to mend their ties.

CGTN’s Natalie Carney reports on Erdogan’s foreign policy balancing act.
Follow Natalie Carney on Twitter @NatalieCarney77

Turkish President Erdogan set to meet with US President Trump

Turkish President Erdogan set to meet with US President Trump

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is heading to Washington at the invitation of U.S. President Donald Trump. This week's visit comes at a tense time for relations between Ankara and Washington just as Turkey and Russia begin to mend their ties. CGTN's Natalie Carney reports on Erdogan's foreign policy balancing act.
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In the few weeks since the Turkish President won a historic referendum giving him executive powers, he has made official visits to Russia, India and China.

And despite anger at recent U.S. policies, Recep Tayyip Erdogan will now make his way stateside.

Just days before Erdogan’s visit, the Trump administration announced it would arm the Syrian Kurdish group, which it regards as a reliable fighting force against ISIL, outraging Ankara, which labels the YPG as a terrorist organization.

“We want to believe that our allies will prefer to side with us, not with a terrorist organization. I will convey our stance on this matter and our concerns regarding this decision to President Trump on May 16 in detail,” Erdogan said.

The two NATO allies have been working together in the fight against ISIL, but the issue of U.S. support for Syrian Kurds jeopardizes further cooperation in Syria.

Turkey has been one of the most vocal opponents of Syrian President Bashar al Assad since the civil war in neighboring Syria erupted 6 years ago. Teaming up with fellow Assad foe, the U.S. might seem natural. Yet Ankara is moving cautiously, also speaking with Russia, Assad’s main backer, about possible joint operations in the war-torn country.

Earlier this month Turkey, Russia and Iran agreed to work together as guarantors of “safe zones” in Syria, excluding any U.S. involvement.

Russia too is looking for global leverage. Last week, President Vladimir Putin sent his foreign minister Sergey Lavrov to the White House to meet with the U.S. President.

Every regional player has his chess piece in the game and the board is Syria.