Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Wednesday that he will meet with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday after initially refusing to do so.
“At this point, the vice president and I are planning to take off later this afternoon,” Pompeo told Maria Bartiromo in a Fox Business interview. “And we have every expectation that we will meet with President Erdoğan.”
Additionally, Pompeo called for a ceasefire, which Erdoğan has ruled out.
Previously, Erdoğan told Sky News that he wouldn’t meet with the two to discuss his country’s invasion of northern Syria after U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew U.S. forces from the region beginning last week—a move that has been harshly criticized by Republicans and Democrats alike. Both sides of the aisle are in the process of crafting a sanctions bill targeting Turkey and its economy.
At least 130,000 people have been displaced so far, according to the United Nations, while more than 200 have been killed, according to Kurdish forces, who have noted vocally their feelings of betrayal by the U.S. withdrawal.
On Wednesday, Trump said that the Kurds, who have lost as many as 11,000 people in Syria while helping the United States fight ISIS terror operatives, are “no angels.”
On Monday, Trump authorized sanctions against Turkey for its incursion. He also raised tariffs on imports of Turkish steel back up to 50 percent, six months after they were reduced, and would immediately stop negotiations on what he said was a $100 billion trade deal with Ankara.
Pompeo is expected to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday following his visit to Turkey to discuss regional security and the U.S. withdrawal from Syria, reported Israel’s Channel 13 News.