The White House confirmed Tuesday that President Trump will host Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a state visit next month, just one day after Trump confirmed that the U.S. would be pulling forces out of northern Syria in the face of a potential Turkish invasion.
The initial decision was released by the White House Sunday night, after a phone call between Trump and Erdogan Sunday afternoon.
After receiving bipartisan backlash for the decision, which Pentagon sources say “blindsided” the Department of Defense, Trump defended the move on Twitter Tuesday morning.
“So many people conveniently forget that Turkey is a big trading partner of the United States, in fact they make the structural steel frame for our F-35 Fighter Jet. They have also been good to deal with,” Trump said, before mentioning Turkey’s good standing in NATO and announcing that Erdogan will be visiting on Nov. 13.
The U.S. has continued to attempt to dissuade Turkey from invading Syria and attacking the Kurds, with U.S. troops in the area serving as a buffer between the hostile forces. Trump tweeted on Tuesday that the withdrawal is not an abandonment of Kurdish allies, “who are special people and wonderful fighters.”
Trump also cautioned Turkey against any potential aggression on Tuesday, stating “any unforced or unnecessary fighting by Turkey will be devastating to their economy and to their very fragile currency.” That tweet came one day after Trump said that he would “totally destroy and obliterate” the Turkish economy if Erdogan crossed a line.
On Tuesday, Turkish military forces struck the Syrian-Iraqi border to prevent Kurdish forces using the route to reinforce northeast Syria in preparation for an invasion. In the wake of the U.S. withdrawal, Kurdish forces said they may open talks with Damascus and Russia to fill a security vacuum in the event of U.S. military absence, according to Reuters.