Turkey’s Erdogan reportedly tries to sway senators with ‘propaganda’

Updated

Donald Trump hosted Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the White House yesterday, but added to the schedule was something unexpected: five Republican senators – Ted Cruz (Texas), Joni Ernst (Iowa), Lindsey Graham (S.C.), Jim Risch (Idaho), and Rick Scott (Fla.) – were invited to sit down with Erdogan, too.

Axios reported that the discussion got a little weird.

An Oval Office meeting yesterday with Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan took a dark turn when Erdogan pulled out his iPad and made the group watch a propaganda video that depicted Kurds as terrorists, according to three sources familiar with the meeting. […]

Erdogan apparently thought he could sway these senators by forcing them to watch a clunky propaganda film…. Erdogan’s video “was unpersuasive,” according to a source who was in the room.

The reporting has not been independently confirmed by MSNBC or NBC News, though CNN had a related report, quoting a source who described the Turkish president’s video as “surreal” and “straight propaganda.”

It all sounds quite bizarre, though I’m still wondering why Erdogan was rewarded with this White House visit in the first place.

In recent months, Trump has cleared the way for a Turkish military offensive against our Kurdish allies, reached a “deal” with Turkey in which Ankara got everything it wanted, and heaped gushing praise on his Turkish counterpart.

It’s against this backdrop that Trump not only invited Erdogan to the White House, he also offered the Turkish leader an opportunity to privately lobby Republican lawmakers ahead of congressional efforts to sanction Turkey for its pending deal to purchase Russian military equipment.

It came the same day as Trump inexplicably telling the world that Turkey has “a great relationship with the Kurds.”

Erdogan clearly has an ally in the White House, doesn’t he?