Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he and Vice President Mike Pence will still meet with Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdoğan despite Erdoğan casting doubt on the gathering.
Earlier Wednesday, Erdoğan told reporters that he would only meet with President Trump and that a Pence-Pompeo meeting would not occur.
“I will not be talking to them. They will be talking to their counterparts,” Erdoğan said. “When Trump comes here, I will be talking to him.”
Pompeo pushed back on that notion and said that the U.S. delegation would indeed be meeting with the Turkish leader about the ongoing crisis in Syria and possibly negotiating a cease-fire between Turkey and America’s Kurdish allies in the region.
“At this point, the vice president and I are planning to take off later this afternoon,” Pompeo said in an interview with Fox's Maria Bartiromo. “And we have every expectation that we will meet with President Erdoğan. And it’s important, Maria. We need to have this conversation with him directly.”
Pence’s office had said Tuesday that he would meet with Erdoğan. Trump, under pressure from a bipartisan slate of congressional leaders, recently signed executive sanctions targeting Turkey. In addition to other economic reprimands, the new sanctions raise tariffs on Turkish steel from 25% to 50%.