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Trump Praises Erdogan as Christians in Syria Detail Human Rights Abuses

Courtesy AP

JERUSALEM, Israel – One day after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited US President Donald Trump at the White House, reaction is coming in from Washington and the Middle East. For some, there’s growing concern about the ongoing US relationship with Turkey.   

While some hoped Trump would deliver hard truths to Erdogan, instead he got high praise.

 “I’m a big fan of the president; I have to tell you that,” Trump said of Erdogan while speaking at a press conference at the White House on Wednesday.

President Trump also praised the ceasefire inside northeast Syria.

“Today the ceasefire continues to hold,” he said. “And I know that the ceasefire, while complicated, is moving forward and moving forward at a very rapid clip.”

Yet aid workers on the ground told a different story.

"Well, there's been constant fighting since the invasion. There's never been a ceasefire, not one day. Airstrikes by drones, regular airstrikes, artillery, mortars, Turkish tanks,” Dave Eubank, head of the Free Burma Rangers humanitarian aid group, told CBN News.

Several international human rights organizations have also cited Turkey for war crimes during its invasion.

During Wednesday’s press conference at the White House, one reporter asked Erdogan about the plight of Christians who have suffered during the invasion.

“The ones remaining on the Syrian side of the territory will see their worship practices restored and revived in a special manner, they’re receiving health care; they’re receiving humanitarian aid in every aspect possible,” Erdogan responded.

Yet, a Christian pastor in the Syrian city of Kobane told a different story. 

“Under the pretext of fighting against the Kurds, a lot of churches have been targeted and destroyed, and many Christians were forcibly displaced from their hometowns,” Pastor Omar Firaz told CBN News.

Senator James Lankford (R-OK) spoke on the Senate floor on Wednesday and expressed his frustration with Turkey.

“Something is happening in Turkey that I hope President Trump and President Erdogan had a very frank discussion on,” Lankford said.

Given these abuses during its ongoing invasion, egregious human and religious rights abuses inside Turkey, and Turkey buying Russian military systems that pose a threat to US weapons systems, Sen. Lankford questioned the future of the Turkish-US relationship.

“We've had an economic relationship, a military relationship, a genuine friendship with Turkey. but we do not know who Turkey is anymore. we don't recognize the Turkey of today from Turkey five years ago,” said Lankford.

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