Trump reiterates support to Turkey in call with Erdogan

The leaders of the two NATO members agreed to coordinate the battle against Daesh, ahead of a visit to Turkey by CIA director Mike Pompeo.

Photo by: AA/AP
Photo by: AA/AP

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) and US President Donald Trump (R) spoke on Tuesday, February 7, 2017.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and US President Donald Trump agreed in a phone call overnight to coordinate action over the Daesh-controlled Syrian towns of al-Bab and Raqqa, Turkish presidential sources said on Wednesday.

The two leaders discussed issues including a safe zone in Syria for people fleeing the six-year war, the refugee crisis and the fight against terror, the sources said. They said Erdogan called on the US not to support the YPG militia in Syria.

TRT World's Hasan Abdullah in Ankara has more details on their conversation. 

CIA director's visit

The Turkish sources also said CIA Director Mike Pompeo would visit Turkey on Thursday to discuss the YPG and battling the network of US-based Fethullah Gulen, whom Turkey accuses of orchestrating last July's coup attempt.

​The White House said President Trump "reiterated US support to Turkey as a strategic partner and a NATO ally, and welcomed Turkey's contributions to the counter-ISIS [Daesh] campaign."

The two countries enjoy a "close, long-standing relationship" and they have a "shared commitment to combating terrorism in all its forms," the White House quoted Trump as saying.

Tuesday's phone call, the first by the leaders of the two NATO members since Trump took office as US president on January 20, lasted 45 minutes, according to Daily Sabah.

Looking to better US relations

Relations between the two countries strained during the administration of former US President Barack Obama.

Following the July 15, 2016 coup attempt in Turkey, Ankara requested the extradition of Fethullah Gulen for his alleged role in the failed putsch. The US has yet to make a ruling on the request. Gulen denies any involvement in the coup attempt.

US backing for Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in Syria has also frustrated Turkey.

The SDF is dominated by the YPG, the armed wing of the PYD (Democratic Union Party), a Syrian offshoot of the PKK, listed as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the US and EU and responsible for bombings and assassinations in Turkey before and after a 2-1/2-year resolution process that collapsed in July 2015.

TRTWorld and agencies