After Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan agreed to suspend Operation Peace Spring against Kurdish forces in Syria in talks with US officials Oct. 17, US President Donald Trump was quick to express his admiration for the Turkish leader. “I just want to thank and congratulate President Erdogan. He’s a friend of mine, and I’m glad we didn’t have a problem because, frankly, he’s a hell of a leader, and he’s a tough man,” Trump said after his emissaries, Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, went to Ankara and talked Erdogan into a temporary cease-fire a week after he had launched the campaign.
Trump also called Erdogan a “strong man,” but that was certainly not in the sense of “autocrat” (strongman) — it was more praise. “He’s a strong man, and he did the right thing and I really appreciate it, and I will appreciate it in the future,” Trump said, adding that Erdogan would travel to Washington on Nov. 13 on Trump's invitation.