President Donald Trump said the cease-fire between Turkey and Syria is “holding” and praised Turkey for protecting the Baltic states and Poland after meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Dec. 4 in London amid meetings with leaders of countries that are part NATO.
Trump said he and Erdogan “discussed everything” in their unscheduled meeting.
“It was a very good meeting, I think. We discussed Syria. We discussed the Kurds. We discussed numerous things, and we’re getting along very well. The border and the safe zone is working out very well. And I gave a lot of credit to Turkey for that. The cease-fire is holding very much so and I think people are surprised,” he told reporters.
“Maybe someday they’ll give me credit, but probably not. They’ve been trying to work this out for 100 years. That border [has been] a mess for a long time. We pulled our soldiers out and took over the oil. We have soldiers where the oil is. And that’s the way I like it. And they can police their own border. And that’s what they’re doing. They can use other countries if they want, if they want to spend the time and energy. But this has been a border under siege for many, many decades, and it was time for us to leave, and we left, and it’s been holding very nicely. So we’re very happy. We talked about that.”
Asked whether Turkey is committed to protecting Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland, Trump said yes.
“They’ve been very good. I think that, frankly, a lot of people paid great respect to Turkey for the work they’ve done, and we had a number of mentions where they were mentioned specifically,” he said.
“They’ve been doing a good job and they’ve been doing a good job also on the border and the safe zone, and they have held. Obviously, there were some skirmishes. That’s been around for a long time, but they’ve—the cease-fire has held very well.”
The meeting came after some other NATO leaders declined to meet with Erdogan, who has been under criticism since attacking Syria in October.
The Turkish government published pictures of Trump and Erdogan meeting on the sidelines of the NATO summit. Turkish presidency communication director Fahrettin Altun said in a statement that the meeting was “very productive.”
The White House said in a statement, “The two Presidents discussed the importance of Turkey fulfilling its alliance commitments, further strengthening commerce through boosting bilateral trade by $100 billion, regional security challenges, and energy security.”