Hopes that Trump-Erdogan affinity may help repair tattered ties on US trip

At the 2012 opening of Trump Towers in Istanbul, real estate mogul Donald Trump sang the praises of Tayyip Erdogan, telling a mostly Turkish audience that their leader, prime minister at the time, was "highly respected" around the world.

"He's a good man. He's just representing you very well," Trump said at the ceremony.

Εβρος : Θρίλερ με τον εγκλωβισμένο τζιχαντιστή στη «νεκρή ζώνη»

Since becoming the U.S. president, Trump has openly complimented Erdogan and his combative ruling style, calling him "a friend" and "hell of a leader."

Such fondness from Trump for the Turkish president, who is due to meet with him at the White House on Wednesday, is seen by many as the only reason why relations between Turkey and the United States have not completely collapsed, having soured severely over their disagreements on a host of issues.

"The two leaders have an affinity for each other as strongman presidents," said Soner Cagaptay, director of the Turkish Research Program at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, while warning of the deep animosity within the bureaucracies of the two NATO allies.

"The Erdogan-Trump part of the U.S.-Turkey relationship is really the only component of it that is currently working right now," Cagaptay said. "Confidence between government agencies of both countries has eroded and there is considerable anger toward the U.S. in Turkey and vice versa."

Washington and Ankara hit a new crisis point last month over Syria, after Erdogan began a cross-border incursion against America's Kurdish allies and upended the U.S. presence there. Months earlier, the United States was livid over Turkey's purchase of Russian missile defense systems.

Turkey shrugged off threats of U.S. sanctions and began receiving...

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