Erdoğan says Trump promised to instruct US ministers on Halkbank case

Erdoğan says Trump promised to instruct US ministers on Halkbank case

ISTANBUL
Erdoğan says Trump promised to instruct US ministers on Halkbank case

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump promised him to "give instructions" to his cabinet members regarding the Halkbank case.

"We have discussed [with Trump] the steps toward Halkbank regarding the well-known financial issue. He told me that he will immediately give instructions to his cabinet members about this issue," Erdoğan said at a joint news conference with his Ukrainian counterpart Petro Poroshenko in Istanbul on Nov. 3.

Erdoğan added that he will meet with Trump on the sidelines of an international meeting due to be held in Paris on Nov. 10-11 to mark the 100th anniversary of the armistice that ended World War I.

Last summer, Turkey reportedly sought to persuade the U.S. to spare Turkey’s state-owned Halkbank from a threatened fine for allegedly helping Iran evade U.S. sanctions.

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Erdoğan has also called on PYD/YPG militants, whom Ankara consider as the Syrian offshoot of the illegal PKK, to leave Syria's northwestern Manbij “as soon as possible.”

"Our goal is the exit of terror groups PYD/YPG from Manbij as soon as possible," Erdoğan said at the joint press conference with Poroshenko after the 7th meeting of Ukraine-Turkey High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council on Nov. 3.

On Nov. 2, Turkish National Defense Ministry shared a footage of the first round of the Turkey-U.S. joint patrols in Manbij that was conducted as part of the deal between the two countries.

The Manbij deal between Turkey and the U.S. focuses on the withdrawal of the YPG from the city to stabilize the region, which is in the northeast of Syria's Aleppo province.

In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU -- has been responsible for the death of some 40,000 people, including those of women and children.

Turkey-Ukraine ties

Regarding Turkish-Ukrainian relations, Erdoğan pointed out that the number of tourists coming from Ukraine to Turkey has surpassed one million in 2018.

"We will continue to strengthen our relations with Ukraine," Erdoğan said.

He said Turkey wishes early resolution of conflict in eastern Ukraine through “diplomatic and peaceful means.”

Turkey has never recognized illegal annexation of Crimea and it will never do in the future, Turkish president added.

In March 2014, Russia annexed Crimea after a controversial referendum, which drew the ire of the international community as Russian soldiers occupied the region during the voting process.

For his part, Poroshenko said the leaders of the two countries have given necessary instructions for signing Free Trade Agreement “as soon as possible.”

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Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Halkbank, hakan atilla, Reza Zarrab, Ukraine