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1ST LEAD Turkish minister: Trump pledged end of arms deliveries to Syria Kurds By Shabtai Gold, dpa

Europe
24.11.2017
By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Istanbul (dpa) - US President Donald Trump pledged that there will be no further weapons deliveries to the main Syrian Kurdish militia, Turkey‘s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Friday.

Cavusoglu addressed reporters shortly after Trump spoke with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan by telephone.

The US is allied with the Syrian Kurdish YPG in the war against the Islamic State extremist group. Turkey labels the YPG a terrorist group.

The White House has yet to provide details of what the two leaders discussed.

Turkey‘s state-run Anadolu news agency reported, citing presidential sources, that Trump and Erdogan also discussed ongoing peace efforts for Syria.

Erdogan met Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rowhani in Sochi, Russia, two days ago to advance talks on reducing violence in Syria. Russia and Iran back the government while Turkey supports rebels.

In addition to Sochi, Trump and Erdogan discussed bilateral relations and regional concerns.

On his Twitter feed, Erdogan described the talks as "productive."

Turkey opposed the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, a decision that raised tensions between the nations. However, recent events have strained the relationship between the two NATO allies to levels not seen in decades, as Ankara appears ever friendlier with Russia.

The governments strongly disagree over the path ahead in Syria, with the US backing Syrian Kurds in the war against Islamic State, a position that has angered Ankara, which dubs the grouping a terrorist organization.

The Turkish media, especially outlets supporting the government, have become fiercely anti-US, increasingly blaming Washington for last year‘s failed coup attempt, charges US officials have repeatedly denied.

Turkey wants a cleric, Fethullah Gulen, extradited, blaming him for the coup. The US wants more proof before moving against the permanent resident.

Meanwhile, a trial is ongoing against a Turkish-Iranian businessman and a Turkish banker from a state-run lender, both accused of skirting sanctions on Iran in a gold-for-oil deal.

Last month, Turkey and the US suspended issuing most visas to each other‘s citizens. Washington was angered by the arrest of a second US consulate employee in Turkey, following the jailing of US citizens, including a Christian pastor. High level talks have only managed to see some of the strictest limits on visas lifted.

 

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