US Vice President has shortly arrived in Ankara to on a high-stakes mission to persuade Recep Tayyip Erdogan to halt Turkey’s military incursion into Syria.
Pence is leading a delegation that includes Mike Pompeo, secretary of state, and Robert O’Brien, US national security adviser.
They are trying to repair the
damage critics say the US president caused when he appeared to give a green
light to Ankara by removing American troops from north-east Syria, where
US-backed Kurdish forces had been fighting Isis.
Critics from across the political spectrum condemned the president’s actions, accusing Trump of abandoning the Kurds, who have lost 11,000 lives battling the terror group.
The US withdrawal has created a vacuum that was immediately filled by Moscow, with Russian troops recording videos from abandoned American bases. John Allen, a retired US Marine general who heads the Brookings Institution, a think-tank, called it a “policy catastrophe”.
“Turkey’s invasion effectively undid in 96 hours what had been accomplished in four years. Everyone told Trump not to do this,” Mr Allen said. “The Pence mission is an attempt to put a battle dressing on a massive self-inflicted wound. Erdogan and Putin are calling the shots.”