Nov 13 2019

Graham on White House Meeting

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made this statement after a meeting with President Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

“I appreciate being invited to meet with President Trump and the President of Turkey to discuss Turkey’s purchase of the S-400 missile system and Turkey’s military incursion into Syria.  The meeting today at the White House was frank, candid, and I hope, over time, will prove to be productive.

“I realize Turkey has legitimate national security concerns regarding certain Kurdish elements of the U.S.-led counter-ISIS coalition, but Turkey’s incursion into Syria has been incredibly disruptive.  I believe it is possible to deal with Turkey’s national security concerns by creating a Safe Zone, but Turkey cannot do it through force of arms. The United States cannot and will not abandon our Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) allies, as that will undermine our ability to protect our nation going forward.  We can achieve a win-win Safe Zone, but Turkey’s military incursion must end.

“As to Turkey’s purchase of the S-400 Russian missile system: it is almost a universally held position in Congress that the S-400 is incompatible with the F-35 fighter.  Turkey’s activation of the Russian S-400 will require the U.S. to keep Turkey from the F-35 program and issue sanctions.  I’m hopeful we can find a way forward with the S-400 where Turkey’s national security needs can be met without compromising the F-35 program.

“Turkey has been a valuable ally and member of NATO.  I’m hoping to salvage this relationship, but only time will tell if that is possible.”