The United States will do its “very best” to keep Turkey in NATO, the US national security advisor said Sunday ahead of a White House visit by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Erdogan’s scheduled meeting Wednesday with President Donald Trump comes amid fraying relations between the two allies, aggravated by its recent offensive against US Kurdish allies in Syria.
Erdogan wants to assassinate Gen. Mazloum, the commander of the Syrian-Kurdish led forces who have led the fight against ISIS and helped us get Baghdadi and Trump wants to host Erdogan at the White House in <10 days?
This must not happen.https://t.co/oIx3T50eCW
— Senator Chris Van Hollen (@ChrisVanHollen) November 4, 2019
Robert O’Brien, Trump’s new national security advisor, suggested in an interview with CBS’s “Face the Nation” that keeping Turkey in NATO was of overriding importance to the administration.
Asked whether Trump would veto the sanctions, O”Brien said, “We have to see what happens.”
“They play a very important role. So losing Turkey as an ally is not something that is good for Europe or for the United States. And we’re going to work on making sure that we can do our very best to keep them as a NATO member,” he said.
The US House of Representatives, however, voted on Tuesday to sanction Ankara for its assault last month on Kurdish-controlled territory in northern Syria.
The same day, it approved a resolution recognizing the “Armenian genocide,” in a symbolic but unprecedented rebuke to Turkey.
The House had previously passed a resolution warning Turkey against going through with a purchase of Russian S-400 air and missile defense system, which Ankara has defiantly ignored.
Asked whether Trump would veto the sanctions against Turkey, O”Brien said, “We have to see what happens.”
It’s time to challenge Erdogan to live up to NATO’s values and to respect the international order.
It's time to stop enabling Turkey to be a bad actor.
It's time for the Senate to act. pic.twitter.com/mrzNx1iKQK
— Senator Bob Menendez (@SenatorMenendez) November 5, 2019
“If Turkey won’t get rid of the 400, Turkey will feel the impact of those sanctions,” O’Brien said.
“There is no place in NATO for the S-400 and for Russian purchases, and that’s a message that the president will deliver to him very clearly when he is here in Washington.”
AFP with additional input by GVS News Desk.