WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued the following statement on Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s visit to the White House today:
“We should not be rolling out the red carpet for a ruthless authoritarian who attacks our allies, jails more journalists than any other country, erodes his country’s democracy, and sows divisions in the NATO alliance. President Trump should have rescinded Erdogan’s invitation after Turkey’s invasion of Syria and reports of Turkey’s human rights atrocities. Now, hours before Erdogan arrives at the White House, new reports suggest Turkey is committing war crimes against Syrian civilians. To make matters worse, President Erdogan took steps in advance of his visit that fly in the face of any groundwork for a productive discussion — touting his consultation with Russia and noting that ISIS was ‘not our problem.’
“Despite President Trump’s refusal to stand up for American values and credibility, the bipartisan consensus in Congress for repudiating Turkey’s actions and the humanitarian crisis they have unleashed has been loud and clear. President Trump should make clear to Turkey that it must facilitate safe and unimpeded passage for humanitarian organizations and civilian populations in areas under its security control, and it must immediately stop targeting innocent civilians. Lastly, the President must address the credible reports that U.S. supplied weapons systems are being transferred to armed proxies, in violation of agreements restricting the transfer of weapons. The United States needs to hold Tukey accountable for the end-use of military equipment, and reaffirm that Turkey bears responsibility for the military actions of proxy groups that it trains and supplies.
“President Ergodan can’t keep distracting attention from the suffering and violence his actions have caused, and President Trump can’t keep capitulating to autocrats and strongmen.”