The phone conversation between the U.S. President Donald Trump and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan has caused a controversy over the content of the call.
The White House readout of the conversation said that Trump relayed concerns that escalating violence in Afrin risked undercutting the goals, shared by the U.S. and Turkey in Syria.
“He urged Turkey to de-escalate, limit its military actions, and avoid civilian casualties and increases to displaced persons and refugees,” the readout said, adding that the U.S. President warned Erdogan against bringing U.S. and Turkish forces into conflict.
Moreover, the White House statement said: “President Trump also expressed concern about destructive and false rhetoric coming from Turkey, and about United States citizens and local employees detained under the prolonged state of emergency in Turkey.”
However, Turkish officials disputed the White House statement, saying that Trump didn’t mention the state of emergency in Turkey. The officials also stressed that the words about “destructive and false rhetoric” were not pronounced during the conversation.
In response, Erdogan criticized the U.S. support to the Syrian Kurdish fighters, saying that the co-operation between Washington and the Kurds caused “outrage” among the Turkish people. He also demanded the Kurdish forces to withdraw to the east of the Euphrates river, promising to protect the city of Manbij together with the Free Syrian Army factions.