Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called his US counterpart Donald Trump as often as two times a day and was “put through directly” to the US president, American news broadcaster CNN said in a report published on Monday.
Citing sources with knowledge of hundreds of confidential telephone calls between Trump and foreign heads of state during his four years in office, CNN said that Erdogan was among the leaders who was most frequently in contact with the American president. He “sometimes phoned the White House at least twice a week and was put through directly to the President on standing orders from Trump,” CNN said.
“The frequency of the calls with Erdogan – in which the Turkish president continually pressed Trump for policy concessions and other favors – was especially worrisome to McMaster, Bolton and Kelly, the more so because of the ease with which Erdogan bypassed normal National Security Council protocols and procedures to reach the president,” CNN said, citing two sources, and referring to national security advisers H.R. McMaster and John Bolton, and White House chief of staff John Kelly.
The same sources indicated that the US president was “woefully uninformed” over the issues discussed with Erdogan and was unable to “engage on equal terms in nuanced policy discussion.”
“Erdogan took him to the cleaners,” CNN’s Carl Bernstein quoted a source as telling him, indicating that Erdogan was able to steer policy in Turkey’s favor, such as Trump’s decision to pull American forces out of Syria, paving the way for Turkey’s operation against the Kurds.