President Donald Trump praised Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday, during his visit to the White House.
“I’m a big fan of the president, to tell you that,” Trump said, praising the Turkish president for enacting a ceasefire on the Turkish border areas of Syria.
“I know that the ceasefire, while complicated, is moving forward and moving forward at a very rapid clip,” Trump added.
Erdogan referred to Trump as a “dear friend” and thanked him for hosting him at the White House.
The Turkish president highlighted his ongoing effort to defeat terrorists, claiming they had already recaptured about 200 escaped ISIS prisoners.
Erdogan singled out the PKK and YPG Kurdish forces as “terrorist organizations” for continuing to attack Turkish soldiers.
Trump said that he had a “frank and productive” conversation with Erdogan after he and several Republican senators spoke directly to Erdogan about their criticisms.
Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Jim Risch (R-ID), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Rick Scott (R-FL) attended the meeting with Trump Erdogan.
President Trump even called in the press to hear Republican Senators discuss their views on Turkey.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, a prominent critic of President Trump’s openness to Erdogan, said he appreciated the opportunity to speak frankly.
“The purpose of this meeting is to have an American civics lesson for our friends in Turkey,” he said to the press. “And there’s a pony in there somewhere if we can find it.”
Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) said he wanted to make sure that Turkey was “heading in the direction of the United States, not heading in the direction of Russia.”
Trump thanked Erdogan for participating in the ongoing fight against terror in the Middle East.
“I will say Turkey has been helping us a lot,” he said.