Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called his US counterpart Donald Trump as often as two times a week and was “put through directly” to the US president, according to a new CNN report.
Sources told reporter Carl Bernstein that Erdogan was allegedly “put through directly to the President on standing orders from Trump.”
Top officials in the Trump administration were reportedly especially concerned about how often Erdogan called and how easily he went past the usual National Security Council protocols and procedures to reach the US President.
Erdogan reportedly would even reach Trump while he was at his golf course, and the president would pause his games to have lengthy chats with him. Erdogan would ask Trump for policy concessions and favours, according to CNN.
“The calls caused former top Trump deputies – including national security advisers H.R. McMaster and John Bolton, Defence Secretary James Mattis, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and White House chief of staff John Kelly, as well as intelligence officials – to conclude that the President was often ‘delusional,’ as two sources put it, in his dealings with foreign leaders,” Bernstein wrote in the CNN report.
Trump, the report alleges, had very little knowledge on the Syria crisis and the history in the region, that Erdogan was able to easily take advantage of him.
“Erdogan took him to the cleaners,” one of the sources told Bernstein.
The report claimed that the calls with Erdogan were a major reason for Trump’s order to pull US forces from Syria.