Erdoğan says he skipped Trump banquet to avoid being in the family photograph

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said his meeting with the U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday during the UN General Assembly in New York was a brief encounter and he did not attend Trump’s banquet in the evening so as to avoid being in the family photograph, Cumhuriyet newspaper reported on Friday.  

Turkish president’s communications director on Wednesday posted photos of Erdoğan meeting with Trump and his wife, ahead of Erdogan's address to UN General Assembly on Tuesday.

“It was only a short encounter like a brief chat. Those people in the U.S. administration was with him. I mean Mike Pence, Mike Pompeo,” Erdoğan told reporters.

Turkish government accuses evangelical members of the U.S. government, particularly the Vice President Mike Pence, of being behind the recent diplomatic row between Turkey and United States over the two year detention of a U.S. pastor in Turkey.

“He [Trump] told me ‘see you later’, but I did not attend his banquet in the evening. You know, family photos are taken during those events,” Erdoğan said.

Erdoğan also said that he did not go to Trump’s table during lunch, as Egypt’s President, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi was sitting with the U.S. President.

Erdogan also rebuked the U.S. over Manbij timelines, said the United States has failed to comply with the timescale agreed for the withdrawal of Kurdish YPG militia from northern Syrian city of Manbij, according to Reuters.

“The United States certainly did not comply with the agreed calendar of the Manbij roadmap; YPG did not exit the area. The real owners of the region are not settled in yet,” Erdogan was quoted as telling reporters following his recent visit to New York to attend the UNGA. 

“The United States did not keep their promise here.”