Trump wants to improve Turkey ties: Pence

Trump wants to improve Turkey ties: Pence

Razi Canikligil – NEW YORK
Trump wants to improve Turkey ties: Pence U.S. Vice President-elect Mike Pence told daily Hürriyet on Nov. 9 that Washington’s new administration wanted to improve relations with Turkey and bring them back to their previous level.

“Turkey is the U.S.’ most important ally in the region. We will bring our relations with Turkey to a better stance just like in the old days,” Pence said in the early hours of Nov. 9 after Republican Donald Trump was elected as the 45th president of the Unites States. 

“We will further enhance our relations,” Pence added. 

Meanwhile, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan congratulated Trump over the phone following the latter’s victory in the U.S. presidential election on Nov. 8.

According to a Turkish presidential source, Erdoğan said he believed bilateral ties would be further strengthened in the near future.

The Turkish president said Turkey and the United States were allies that had “mutual respect, mutual profits and shared values,” the source said, according to the state-run Anadolu Agency. 

Trump and Erdoğan also emphasized their determination to cooperate over regional and international issues, particularly counter-terrorism, the source added. 

Erdoğan later also tweeted: “I congratulate @realDonaldTrump on being elected as the 45th president of the U.S. and look forward to further strengthening our relations.” 

Trump is expected to take the oath of office on Jan. 20, 2017, as the 45th president of the U.S.   

Turkey and the U.S. are long-time NATO allies but relations have deteriorated during U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration, especially over the designation of Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG). 

Washington backs the YPG as a key force driving back the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Syria but Ankara regards the group as a terror organization due to its links with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Ankara was deeply alarmed in the election campaign by comments from Trump’s vanquished Democrat rival, Hillary Clinton, who proposed arming the YPG with “the equipment they need.”