Addressing a joint press conference with US President Donald Trump, Turkish president says engaging the YPG/PYD as partners absolutely goes against global agreements that have been reached.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and US President Donald Trump.
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and US President Donald Trump.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday stressed continued cooperation with the US against terrorism during his first meeting with President Donald Trump at the Oval Office.

"We are committed to fighting all kinds of terrorism, without any discrimination whatsoever, that impose a clear and present threat upon our future," Erdogan said.

"The close cooperation that the countries will demonstrate in the region will be very important for the rest of the world," he added.

The two leaders spoke at a press briefing, which was followed by meetings between the delegations.

Strong disagreement over YPG

The meeting comes amid strong disagreements between the US and Turkey regarding Washington's support for the YPG to combat Daesh in northern Syria.

Engaging the PYD and YPG as partners, regardless of the country that does it, "absolutely goes against global agreements that have been reached" on terrorism, Erdogan said.

And we should never allow those groups to use terrorism as an excuse to manipulate the religious and ethnic structures in the region.

Ankara views the PYD and its armed wing, the YPG as the Syrian offshoot of the PKK. Both Washington and Ankara regard the PKK as a terrorist organisaiton.

Erdogan also stressed Turkey's efforts against the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) that Ankara accuses of orchestrating a defeated coup attempt last summer.

The Turkish government is seeking FETO leader Fetullah Gulen's extradition from the US.

"I will be very frank communicating our expectations with regards to the Fetullah Terrorist Organization, responsible for the failed coup of July 15 in Turkey," Erdogan said.

Ankara has said FETO is also behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police and judiciary, and has also accused it of infiltrating other countries through educational institutions, among others.

Trump voices support

During the news conference, Trump showed support for Ankara in its fight against Daesh and the PKK, saying the US would work to ensure that terror groups "have no safe quarter."

"The Turkish people have faced horrible terrorist attacks in recent years, and even recently," he said.

"The relationship that we have together will be unbeatable," Trump said of joint anti-terror efforts.

He also voiced appreciation for Turkey's leadership "in seeking an end to the horrific killing in Syria".

Mutual benefit

President Trump highlighted peace and security in the Middle East, confronting shared threats, and ensuring "peace and safety for all of our people" as key areas of cooperation between Turkey and the US.

He also mentioned the importance of a mutual effort to "reinvigorate our trade and commercial ties."

Prior to the meeting, Trump said the discussions would be "long and hard" but fruitful.

"We've had a great relationship and we will make it even better," he said.

TRT World's Alican Ayanlar has more on the story.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies