Erdoğan may cancel Washington trip after Congress votes - Turkish officials

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan may cancel his upcoming trip to Washington after the U.S. House of Representatives voted to sanction Turkey and recognise the Armenian genocide, Reuters reported on Monday citing three Turkish officials.

The recent developments have overshadowed ties between Ankara and Washington, creating uncertainty surrounding Erdoğan’s Nov. 13 visit to the United States on the invitation of President Donald Trump, the officials told Reuters.

“Due to these decisions, Erdoğan’s visit has been put on hold,” Reuters quoted a senior Turkish official as saying, adding that a final decision had not been made.

In a historic vote on Oct. 29 the House voted overwhelmingly to officially recognize the mass killings of Armenians by the Ottoman Empire as genocide.

The move that was seen as a rebuke to Turkey, which has spent nearly a century denying the claim. 

The same day, the House dealt a second blow to Ankara when it overwhelmingly passed a bill threatening fresh sanctions on Turkey to punish it for its offensive into northeast Syria.

Trump and Erdoğan’s ties remain strong despite anger in Congress over Turkey’s Syria offensive and its purchase of Russian S-400 missile system, the Turkish sources told Reuters.

The Pentagon in July removed Turkey from the F-35 fighter jets programme after Turkey began to take delivery of the Russian S-400 air defence system citing security concerns about the coexistence of the F-35 with a Russian intelligence collection platform.

U.S. lawmakers took advantage of the current political climate against Turkey in Washington to pass the Armenian genocide resolution, a source close to the presidency that spoke on condition of anonymity, said.

Citing Trump’s letter to Erdoğan dated Oct. 9, in which he warns Turkey’s strongman not be a “tough guy’’ and “fool,’’ a Turkish security official told Reuters, there would be no point to this visit unless there was a change in atmosphere. 

The Turkish president on Friday said he would return it to his counterpart when he saw him in Washington.