Congress demands Trump cancel meeting with Turkish leader who ordered Syria invasion

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A bipartisan group of lawmakers has requested Trump rescind his White House invitation to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

A group of 17 lawmakers, including two Republicans, sent Donald Trump a letter late last week, asking him to disinvite Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan from a White House meeting scheduled for Wednesday.

The letter, dated Nov. 8, was publicly released by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Eliot Engel on Monday.

The letter expressed "deep concern" that Trump would welcome Erdogan to the White House, especially in light of Turkey's recent military incursion in northern Syria, which left scores of civilians dead.

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"President Erdogan's decision to invade northern Syria on October 9 has had disastrous consequences for U.S. national security, has led to deep divisions in the NATO alliance, and caused a humanitarian crisis on the ground," the lawmakers wrote. "Turkish forces have killed civilians and members of the Syrian Democratic Forces, a critical U.S. partner in the fight against ISIS, and displaced over one hundred thousand people from their homes in northern Syria."

Turkey invaded northern Syria on Oct. 9, after Trump effectively gave Erdogan the go-ahead in an phone call days earlier. As a result of Trump's decision to withdraw U.S. troops from the area, hundreds of ISIS-aligned fighters escaped prison, and experts expect the terror network to grow in strength as a result.

The letter noted that the House voted twice in October to condemn Turkey's actions in Syria. On Oct. 19, the House passed a resolution condemning the Turkish invasion; about a week later, it passed a bill placing economic sanctions on Turkish officials and entities in protest of the military strike, which may have involved chemical weapons, a violation of international law. Both measures passed with overwhelming bipartisan majorities.

The last time Erdogan visited Trump in 2017, Erdogan's security personnel were caught on camera assaulting demonstrators in Washington, D.C. According to the Washington Post, U.S. federal agents had to intervene in several physical altercations, and at least one U.S. agent was punched in the course of the two-day visit.

Despite a bipartisan rebuke from Congress, and a letter asking Trump to reconsider the invitation, it appears Trump remains undeterred and will meet with Erdogan on Wednesday.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.