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DC think tank accused of bending over backwards for Erdogan

Washington tongues are wagging as prominent think tank the Atlantic Council prepares to receive Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, with whom its leadership has enthusiastically pursued relations.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrives for a working dinner with heads of delegations for the Nuclear Security Summit at the White House in Washington March 31, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst - RTSD2WC

The last time Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan came to Washington was in March last year to attend the Nuclear Security Summit, and things went horribly wrong. Erdogan delivered a speech at the Brookings Institution. What most people remember is not what he said there but what happened outside the think tank’s Massachusetts Avenue premises. News that Erdogan’s notoriously thuggish security detail set upon protesters and reporters, physically assaulting and hurling insults at them, made international headlines.

It has therefore been a matter of intense speculation whether any think tank would dare to invite Erdogan during his brief stint in the capital to meet with President Donald Trump today. Turkish think tank SETA and the Atlantic Council have stepped up to the plate. Erdogan will speak at a closed session co-hosted by them at the Turkish ambassador’s residence after his noon encounter with Trump, and tongues are wagging.

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