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Trump-Erdogan Hold Talks, Agree on Fighting Regional Terrorism | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) shakes hands with US President Donald Trump as they give statements to reporters in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, US May 16, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

United States President Donald Trump received on Tuesday Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, amid tensions over the US decision to arm Kurdish fighters in Syria that angered Ankara, a crucial partner in the US-led coalition against ISIS terrorists.

The two leaders held talks over a number of regional and international issues.

Erdogan, during his own comments after the meeting pledged to work together with Trump on multiple issues, expressed a desire to expand trade, and also offered his congratulations on “the legendary triumphs (Trump) has garnered in the aftermath of the election.”

However, Trump’s approval of plans to supply the Kurdish YPG militia as it advances toward the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa in Syria cast a shadow over the talks between the leaders of NATO allies Turkey and the United States. US officials disclosed the plans on May 9.

Erdogan has pledged to use the White House meeting to try to get Trump to change course on the YPG. Ankara regards the YPG as an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has fought an insurgency in southeastern Turkey since 1984 and is considered a terrorist group by the United States, Turkey and Europe.

On the other hand, Trump said on that his Oval Office meeting last week with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov was “very, very successful” and would help promote the fight against terrorism, adding to his earlier defense of sharing information with Russian officials.

“We had a very, very successful meeting with the foreign minister of Russia,” Trump said in response to questions at a White House event with Erdogan.

“We want to get as many to help fight terrorism as possible. And that’s one of the beautiful things that happening with Turkey,” he added.