Turkey's Presidential Spokesman, Ibrahim Kalin said both leaders agreed to continue collaborating on common strategic goals and resolving issues which negatively affect bilateral relations.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and US President Donald Trump wait for a meeting at the Palace Hotel during the 72nd United Nations General Assembly in New York City, US on September 21, 2017.
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and US President Donald Trump wait for a meeting at the Palace Hotel during the 72nd United Nations General Assembly in New York City, US on September 21, 2017. (Getty Images)

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his US counterpart Donald Trump discussed bilateral and regional issues over the phone, Presidential Spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said in a statement on Thursday.

The phone call marks the third time the two leaders have spoken on the phone since November 2017.

Kalin said both leaders agreed to continue collaborating on common strategic goals and resolving issues which negatively affect bilateral relations.

"President Donald J Trump spoke today with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey to reaffirm the importance of strong relations between the United States and Turkey, as NATO Allies and strategic partners, and to exchange views on regional developments," a statement released by the White House read. 

Deep crisis over Manbij

Earlier in the day, Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said in an interview with Anadolu Agency that the two presidents would hold a phone call later on Thursday.

During the interview Cavusoglu also warned that if the US and Turkey could not agree on a path forward in the Syrian YPG-controlled town of Manbij, Turkey would take unilateral action to clear the YPG terrorists  from the town. 

The interview came after US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert affirmed  on Tuesday that the US had no intention of leaving Manbij and its forces would co-operate with its operational partners in the town.

On Thursday, US officials and members of the US-led coalition visited the city and toured the local market in support of PKK/YPG.

On February 16, during the now-former US secretary of state Rex Tillerson's visit to Ankara, the two countries "reached an understanding" to normalise ties following a period of tensions over the situation in Syria.

During Tillerson’s visit, Cavusoglu said the YPG/PKK terrorists should first withdraw from Manbij, northern Syria for Turkey to take steps with the US based on trust.

Previously, former US President Barack Obama had promised Turkey that the PKK/YPG terrorists would move east of the Euphrates and would not take control of Manbij after defeating Daesh. However, despite warnings from Ankara, Washington failed to keep its promise and relations between two countries have remained tense.

The Turkish military and the Free Syrian Army recently cleared the Afrin town centre of the YPG during Operation Olive Branch, which was launched on January 20.

Turkey considers the PKK to be a terrorist organisation, as does the US and the EU. However, while the US considers the YPG an ally on the ground in Syria, Turkey insists the group is a branch of the PKK.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies