Erdogan and Trump pledge to strengthen relations

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his meeting with the US president would "mark a historic turn of the tide" and hailed Turkey's "outstanding relations" with the United States.

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) and US President Donald Trump in Washington DC, May 16, 2017.

The leaders of Turkey and the United States reaffirmed strong ties as NATO allies in their first meeting at the White House on Tuesday. 

US President Donald Trump lauded Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as an important ally in the fight against terrorism.

"We’re going to have a lot of great success in the coming years … the relationship that we have together will be unbeatable," Trump said while meeting Erdogan.

After their meeting, Trump and Erdogan exchanged friendly tweets.

The two leaders' press briefing was followed by meetings between the two countries’ delegations.

TRT World's Alican Ayanlar brings more from Washington DC.

Next steps

Erdogan's visit came at an awkward time as it followed US President Donald Trump's decision to arm the YPG, the main component of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which is fighting Daesh in Syria.

Turkey considers the YPG as the Syrian affiliate of the PKK, which Ankara and Washington DC agree is a terrorist organisation. But the US insists that the YPG is a separate group, despite evidence Turkey has presented to the contrary.

While no concrete assurances were officially announced to appease Turkey's concerns, Erdogan left the White House with the hope that the discussions behind closed doors will help turn the tide.

“Steps to be taken in the fields of economy, trade, and defence were evaluated, along with detailed discussions on the fight with terrorist organisations, including the PKK and Daesh,” Turkey's presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said after the meeting. 

Kalin also said that the leaders discussed possible steps against the network of Fethullah Gulen in the US. 

Turkey blames what it calls "FETO" (Fethullah Terrorist Organisation) for the attempted coup in July 2016, in which 249 people died and more than 2,000 were wounded, when disaffected elements within the military and security apparatus attempted to overthrow the presidency and government.

Network leader Fethullah Gulen denies any involvement in the attempted coup. He lives in self-imposed exile in the United States. Ankara wants him extradited to answer charges for his alleged role in the insurrection.

Ankara also accuses the Gulen network of infiltrating state institutions in Turkey including the military, police force, judiciary and the education system.

The delegations also discussed in detail the developments in Syria and Iraq.

Source: 
TRTWorld and agencies