(FOREIGNPOLICY) — Facing a high-profile snub from the White House and a growing chasm with the United States over human rights and press freedoms, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan courted Washington’s top think tank luminaries on Tuesday night in an effort to rehabilitate his image and criticize the Obama administration’s policies in Syria.
During a private dinner at Washington’s high-end St. Regis Hotel, a defiant Erdogan ripped the American media’s coverage of his administration’s policies and bashed the White House’s support for Kurdish fighters in Syria. Washington sees the Kurds as their most valuable proxies in the ground battle against the Islamic State, but Erdogan views them as terrorists aligned with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, a militant group struggling for autonomy. Kurdish militants have been tied to several recent bombings inside Turkey.
“He kept coming back to that issue: Terrorists are terrorists — there are no good ones” said one attendee of the dinner, speaking on condition of anonymity. “He pretty much threw the administration under the bus.”
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