Erdoğan, Trump confirm united stance on increasing cooperation, coordination
ISTANBUL – Anadolu Agency
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and U.S. President Donald Trump, discussed bilateral and regional issues in a telephone call on March 30, according to the Turkish Presidency.
The two leaders discussed the latest developments in Syria and Iraq as well as counter-terrorism efforts, it stated.
Erdoğan and Trump also reportedly “confirmed their determination to increased cooperation and coordination as allies.”
Also on the agenda were demonstrations near the Gaza Strip’s eastern border with Israel that began earlier in the day.
Tens of thousands of Palestinians in the blockaded Gaza Strip converged on the border to demand the right to return to their homes in historical Palestine.
The demonstrations are also intended to pressure Israel to lift its decade-long blockade of the Hamas-run Gaza Strip.
Turkish foreign undersecretary meets US counterpart
Meanwhile, Turkish Foreign Undersecretary Ümit Yalçın met U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John J. Sullivan in Washington on March 30, with the NATO allies asserting their commitment to “address common concerns in the spirit of partnership.”
Both men reviewed the current state of Turkey-U.S relations and agreed to continue efforts to resolve major issues affecting bilateral ties, according to information received from the Turkish Foreign Ministry.
The ministry said the contentious issue of Manbij was addressed within the scope of previous meetings and reasserted a determination to jointly advance on the matter.
The pair also discussed ways to enhance cooperation between Ankara and Washington in efforts to permanently eliminate the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and provide security and stability to ISIL-free regions in Syria.
Additionally, Yalçın informed Sullivan on developments regarding the northern Syrian district of Afrin and Turkey’s humanitarian aid efforts for establishing stability.
The closed-door meeting addressed consular and judicial issues between the Turkish and U.S. delegations.
Ahead of the visit, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said the results of working group meetings March 8-9 in Washington were also on the agenda.
Turkey and the U.S. have been trying to iron out a number of issues, principally concerning the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), which the U.S. has partnered with against ISIL but which Turkey blasts as a terrorist group linked to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
Ankara and Washington have established working groups to discuss a number of key issues, including the stabilization of Manbij and preventing direct clashes, but the removal of Rex Tillerson as U.S. secretary of state delayed a visit to Washington by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu that was previously set for March 19.
Turkey-US defense trade dialogue held in Ankara
Meanwhile, the 5th session of the Turkey-U.S. Defense Industry Trade Dialogue was held in Ankara on March 30 to discuss bilateral defense trade and security cooperation.
According to a statement by the Foreign Ministry, representatives of the Turkish General Staff, the Defense Ministry, the Economy Ministry, the Defense Industry Undersecretariat, and officials from the U.S. participated in the first session of the day organized by the Turkish Foreign Ministry and the U.S. State Department.
Several U.S. and Turkish defense industry companies also participated in the afternoon for the second session of the day, the statement said.
Participants reaffirmed the commitment of Turkey and the United States to address shared security and defense trade goals for the benefit of each nation.
Additionally, they discussed current developments in the Turkish-U.S. defense industry, possibilities for cooperation between the two countries, and potential joint undertakings, the statement added.
The Turkey-U.S. Defense Industry Trade Dialogue was initially launched in Washington in 2014.