The benefits of a personal relationship with Trump are clear in the case of the Turkish president, but the US president also has reasons to maintain relations with Erdogan. The analyst Steven Cook writes about this in his article on the Foreign Policy.
“The full-throated American endorsement of Turkey’s Syria policy may have been in and of itself worth the visit for Erdogan, but he also received a commitment from five Republican senators who joined the Turkish president and Trump in the Oval Office that the Senate would not recognize the Armenian genocide. The same evening, Sen. Lindsey Graham, alternately an advocate for and critic of Turkey, dutifully blocked consideration of the legislation.”
According to him, despite a pile of questions, including the vote in the House of Representatives on the resolution on the Armenian Genocide recognition and the approval of sanctions against Ankara for its invasion of Syria, this meeting was a disappointment for all participants.
He notes that as a result of the meeting, Trump secured the release of Serkan Golge, an American scientist of Turkish origin, and Erdogan, in turn, received US support for Syrian politics and got Trump’s words that Turkey is fighting terrorism.
“So all in all, not much has changed: The S-400, F-35, and Gulen continue to divide the two countries, and Trump approves of Turkey’s invasion of Syria. How is this different from Nov. 12, the day before the meeting? It isn’t—at least on the substance,” he said.
Cook writes that some analysts point to the influence of the Turkish leader on Trump. According to some rumors, Trump's respect for Erdogan is related to his business interests in Turkey. Others suspect that the president was convinced that Turkey could provide assistance on the Iranian issue.
“Trump is facing impeachment and reelection. He famously campaigned on getting out of the Middle East. Erdogan’s invasion of Syria has effectively relieved the United States of responsibility for northeastern Syria. That is a political win for Trump, who declared that Turkey’s military action, and the simultaneous U.S. redeployment, was ending the so-called “forever wars,” an issue popular well beyond the president’s core supporters. That alone makes it worthwhile hosting his pal Erdogan at the White House,” he said.