House leaders call on Trump to rescind Erdoğan invitation

A bipartisan group of members of the United States Congress, in a letter on Monday, called on the U.S. President Donald Trump to rescind the invitation extended to the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who is scheduled to visit Washington on Nov. 13. 

The letter said that the visit by Erdoğan comes after Turkey's "decision to invade Northern Syria on October 9 has had disastrous consequences for U.S. national security". 

The letter led by Representative Eliot L. Engel, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, was also signed by Representatives Gus M. Bilirakis, William R. Keating, Peter T. King, Adriano Espaillat, Susan Wild, Albio Sires, Ted Deutch, Colin Allred, Jim Costa, Gerald E. Connolly, Jamie Raskin, Brad Sherman, Juan Vargas, James P. McGovern, Dina Titus, and Ilhan Omar.

The letter ended by saying, "Given this situation, we believe that now is a particularly inappropriate time for President Erdogan to visit the United States, and we urge you to rescind this invitation."

Turkey launched its third cross-border operation in Syria on Oct. 9, following a phone conversation between Trump and Erdoğan, which was widely accepted as a "green light" for the offensive from Washington. The operation ended after nine days with Turkey taking over approximately 120 km of land that is 30 km deep inside Syria. Turkey said it launched the operation against the Syrian Kurdish People’s’ Protection Units (YPG), which it recognises the group as a terrorist organisation. Turkey views YPG as an extension of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), an armed group which has been fighting against the Turkish state for decades. 

The letter was signed by 15 members of the Congress, including Ilhan Omar, one of the two muslim congresswomen in the House known to be close to the Turkish president. Omar was the only Democrat to vote against sanctioning Turkey over Ankara’s military offensive against Kurdish-controlled territories in northern Syria and was one of the only members of the U.S. House of Representatives who refrained from voting to recognise the Armenian genocide last week.

Campaign finance records accessed by the Daily Caller show that Turkish American Steering Committee (TASC) co-chair Halil Mutlu, who is Erdoğan’s cousin according to Turkish media outlets, last month donated $1,500 to Omar’s campaign.

According to Ahval sources, a similar letter also being prepared in the Senate and may be published soon.