Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan meets Donald Trump on May 16, 2017 in Washington for the first time as president, hoping to entice the American leader into major policy shifts to solidify a crucial but increasingly strained relationship.
Meanwhile Erdogan, who pushed through a referendum strengthening his powers last month, also said he would pursue "to the end" Turkey's demand for Gulen's extradition. In the months that followed, almost 150,000 soldiers, judges, academics, journalists and others were detained or lost their jobs in a roundup of suspected sympathizers.
The U.S.is relying on regional allies including Turkey for intelligence-sharing and military assistance as it crafts a Syria policy, particularly as Iran and Russian Federation work to bolster Syrian President Bashar Assad's government. Air Force Col. John Dorrian, a spokesman for Operation Inherent Resolve, told Pentagon reporters last week that providing arms to the Kurds will "accelerate" the offensive on Raqqa, where the US military estimates about 4,000 ISIS fighters remain.
Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan are expected to address the Syrian civil war, the refugee crisis and the fight against the Islamic State group when they hold their first face-to-face meeting.
In the Oval Office, Pres Trump calls it a "great honor" to have meeting with Pres Erdogan - but mispronounced his name.
The meeting took place with a White House still responding to what a senior USA official said was Trump's disclosure of classified information about an Islamic State terror threat involving laptop computers on aircraft. The U.S. can also assist the Turks with greater intelligence sharing to enhance their ability to seal their borders to infiltrators.
In an increasingly complex world, strong relations between the United States and Turkey are critical now more than ever. Ankara regards the YPG as an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has fought an insurgency in southeastern Turkey since 1984 and is considered a terrorist group by the United States, Turkey and Europe.
"We want to believe that our allies will prefer to side with us, not with a terrorist organization".
Melissa McCarthy mocks Sean Spicer with motorized podium
Spicer is also shocked at the notion that "his friend" Trump could be lying to him, and the sketch ends on a surprising note. Ultimately, Comey's firing is traced to "Trump's good friend" Jeff Sessions who's symbolized by Pikachu.
Still, the Turkish president made it clear the Trump administration's decision to arm one group of Syrian Kurds fighting the Islamic State, the YPG, would "never be accepted".
Trump and Erdogan may find common ground as leaders with little interest in oversight or checks on power.
Given Rudy Giuliani's ties to the Turkish government, U.S. District Judge Berman has questioned whether the former New York City mayor's involvement in the case would make Reza Zarrab less likely to pursue a plea that could have political fallout for Turkey's autocratic leader. Erdogan blames last year's coup attempt on Gulen, who has been living in Pennsylvania since 1999.
Erdogan, who meets with Trump at the White House in the afternoon, has been lobbying for the release of Reza Zarrab, who is charged with acting as a go-between to help Iran's revolutionary guards and other Tehran clients evade US sanctions.
CORNISH: I mean the whole point is that they're good fighters, right? "The West must help Turkey return to a democratic path".
Last week, the Turkish president sent a high level delegation including chief of army, head of intelligence agency and his close adviser to Washington to lay grounds for his upcoming meeting with the USA president. The U.S., whose forces are sometimes embedded with the Kurds, has much to fear.
The meeting took place just one day after Mr Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, who led the investigation into purported ties between Mr Trump's campaign team and Russian Federation as well as their possible interference into the 2016 United States election.