Donald Trump has invited a host of world leaders and guests to the White House since coming to power.

But it seems some of the US President's guests and invites are raising more eyebrows than others.

And while inviting leaders whose countries have raised human rights concerns may seem at odds with US freedoms, there's a good reason why they still get a White House welcome - especially if they're allies.

Just this week the US President hosted his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan during an Oval Office meeting.


Trump extended a warm welcome to Erdogan, an authoritarian-style leader who had a strained relationship with the previous US administration.

"We've had a great relationship and we will make it even better," Trump said in the Oval Office as he sat beside Erdogan.

"We look forward to having very strong and solid discussions."

Human rights groups have questioned Turkey's human rights record and government crackdown on dissidents and ethnic groups such as the Kurds.

However, Sarah Graham, a lecturer at the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, said there was a reason why Trump hosted his Turkish counterpart.

"Despite the fact that the US and Turkey's views on Syria are quite different, Turkey is an ally," she said.

"A very important ally."

Dr Graham said if Hillary Clinton had won the election she also would have met with Erdogan but it may have played out very differently and with less pomp and ceremony.


She said Ms Clinton may have pushed Mr Erdogan harder over the Kurdish issue for a start but pointed out Mr Trump wasn't the only US leader to have met with him.

Former President Barack Obama also met Erdogan, despite growing concerns over Turkey's human rights record.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Photo/AP
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Photo/AP

But there was another White House visitor who caught the world's attention last month.

Trump welcomed his Egyptian counterpart, President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi for talks ranging from ways to collaborate in the fight against Islamic extremism to efforts to bolster Egypt's flailing economy.

In an Oval Office meeting, Trump said that el-Sisi has done a "fantastic job" and declared his support for Egypt and its people.

Dr Graham said Egypt was also an important ally in the Middle East but the previous administration's relationship was more strained following a series of coups and crackdowns.

President Mohammed Morsi was overthrown by the military in July 2013 following mass protests just a year after taking office as the country's first democratically elected leader.

His election brought an end to Hosni Mubarak's 30-year rule.

Human rights groups have also raised concerns about restrictions placed on political and media freedoms.

"The US wants to maintain an important working relationship with Egypt," Dr Graham said.

"It provides a lot of military aid to Egypt and, like Israel, it remains a strategically important ally."

Egypt is the third-biggest recipient of military aid from the United States - a clear indication of its importance.

Strong men

Trump has previously spoken highly of Russian President Vladimir Putin and also of firebrand Philippines leader Rodrigo Duterte.

Both leaders, seen as strong men by some, have been accused of crushing dissent and eroding human rights.

Trump's decision to invite Duterte to the White House has raised concerns due to his country's brutal drug and crime crackdown which has left more than 7000 people dead.

The US President invited Duterte to Washington to discuss important bilateral relations, following a "very friendly" telephone conversation between the two leaders earlier this month.

Rodrigo Duterte. Photo/AP
Rodrigo Duterte. Photo/AP

But the Philippine president said he may or may not accept Trump's invitation to the White House because he was too busy.

The warming in relations is in stark contrast to the previous administration.

Duterte called Obama "son of a whore" last September following the former US president's criticism on the Philippines' controversial and bloody war on drugs.

The White House defended the Duterte call, saying his co-operation was needed to counter North Korea, even as the administration faced criticism for its overture to Manila.

Dr Graham said the fact remained that the Philippines remained an ally and Trump was trying to be pragmatic in its dealings with Manila.

"Turkey, Egypt and the Philippines are allies," Dr Graham said.

"On the one hand the US could lay down the law of the land with them more but on the other hand it knows it needs these allies, even the smaller ones."

She said even Obama would have met with these leaders but said it may not have ended in a White House visit and their approaches would have differed.

And while Trump has not met his Russian counterpart in person, his decision to host the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov a day after FBI Director James Comey came under scrutiny following claims of Russian interference in the US election.

Trump has also praised his Russian counterpart in the past, despite widespread human rights abuses and the annexing of Crimea.

Dr Graham did however point out Trump appears more comfortable dealing with strong male leaders.

Trump met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in the Oval Office in March. Photo/AP
Trump met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in the Oval Office in March. Photo/AP

"One the one hand he (Trump) is clearly comfortable with the Russians, yet on the other he was not so comfortable with (German Chancellor) Angela Merkel," Dr Graham said.

"She is a woman and is also very experienced, and compared to other Western leaders, is more willing to stand up and challenge him."