- Turkish President Recep Erdogan frequently called US President Donald Trump, according to a new CNN report.
- Erdogan sometimes phoned Trump as often as twice a week, according to the CNN report.
- He would sometimes call while Trump was golfing, and the president would interrupt his game to chat at length with the Turkish president.
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Turkish President Recep Erdogan reportedly called US President Donald Trump twice a week at one point, according to a new CNN report.
Sources told reporter Carl Bernstein that Erdogan was allegedly “put through directly to the President on standing orders from Trump.”
The report was based on repeated interviews with officials over a period of four months. Bernstein, who along with Bob Woodward, broke the story of the Watergate Scandal for The Washington Post in 1972, reported that Trump’s lack of preparation for conversations with leaders like Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin was seen by some White House officials as a “danger to the national security of the United States.”
“The calls caused former top Trump deputies – including national security advisers H.R. McMaster and John Bolton, Defense Secretary James Mattis, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and White House chief of staff John Kelly, as well as intelligence officials – to conclude that the President was often ‘delusional,’ as two sources put it, in his dealings with foreign leaders,” Bernstein wrote in the CNN report.
According to the report, Trump's conversations with Erdogan and Putin were "particularly egregious in terms of Trump almost never being prepared substantively and thus leaving him susceptible to being taken advantage of in various ways."
Some top officials in the Trump administration were reportedly especially concerned about how often Erdogan called and how easily he went past the usual National Security Council protocols and procedures to reach Trump. Erdogan reportedly would even reach Trump while he was at his golf course, and the president would pause his games to have lengthy chats with him. Erdogan would ask Trump for policy concessions and favors, according to CNN.
Trump, the report alleges, had very little knowledge on the Syria crisis and the history in the region, that Erdogan was able to easily take advantage of him.
"Erdogan took him to the cleaners," one of the sources told Bernstein.
The report claimed that the calls with Erdogan were a major reason for Trump's order to pull US forces from Syria. The New York Times reported in October 2019, that Trump's decision to pull troops from the country that has been embattled in almost a decade of civil war came "impulsively" after a call with Erodgan.
The removal of US troops allowed Turkey to attack the Kurds. According to Business Insider, US forces acted as "deterrent" for Turkey to not attack the Kurds. The Kurds had helped the US fight against the Islamic State and were apart of the Syrian Democratic Forces.
In response to the CNN report, White House spokesperson Sarah Matthews told Business Insider: " President Trump is a world-class negotiator who has consistently furthered America's interests on the world stage. From negotiating the phase-one China deal and the USMCA to NATO allies contributing more and defeating ISIS, President Trump has shown his ability to advance America's strategic interests."
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- Trump was 'near-sadistic' in phone calls with female world leaders, according to CNN report on classified calls
- Trump's abrupt decision to pull out of Syria was reportedly made 'instinctively' at the end of his call with Turkey's president
- The US is preparing to pull its remaining 1,000 troops out of northern Syria as the Turkish offensive against the Kurds moves forward