Erdogan, Trump Agree to Jointly Fight IS

Erdogan, Trump Agree  to Jointly Fight ISErdogan, Trump Agree  to Jointly Fight IS

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and US President Donald Trump agreed in a phone call overnight to act jointly against the self-styled Islamic State terrorist group in the Syrian towns of al-Bab and Raqqa, both controlled by the militants, Turkish presidency sources said on Wednesday.

The two leaders discussed issues, including a safe zone in Syria, the refugee crisis and the fight against terror, the sources said. They also said Erdogan had urged the United States not to support the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia.

Trump spoke about the two countries’ “shared commitment to combating terrorism in all its forms” and welcomed Turkey’s contributions to the fight against IS, the White House said in a statement, but it gave no further details.

Turkey, a NATO ally and part of the US-led coalition against IS, has repeatedly said it wants to be part of the operation to liberate Raqqa but does not want the YPG to be involved.

Erdogan’s relations with former US president, Barack Obama, were strained by US support for the YPG militia, which Ankara regards as a terrorist organization.

The offices of both leaders said Trump had reiterated US support for Turkey “as a strategic partner and NATO ally” during the phone call on Tuesday.

The Turkish sources said new CIA Director Mike Pompeo would visit Turkey on Thursday to discuss YPG and battling the network of Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen whom Turkey accuses of orchestrating a July coup attempt.

Turkey has been frustrated by what it sees as Washington’s reluctance to hand over Gulen who has lived in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania since 1999.

There was no immediate confirmation from Washington of Pompeo’s visit.

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