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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 19 September 2018

White House: Trump, Erdogan discuss 'regional security' in call

The phone call came amid a backdrop of deteriorating relations between Washington and Ankara

US president Donald Trump welcomes Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan to the White House in Washington on May 16, 2017. The two men discussed over the phone on Saturday working more closely together to improve regional security. Pablo Martinez Monsivais / The Associated Press
US president Donald Trump welcomes Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan to the White House in Washington on May 16, 2017. The two men discussed over the phone on Saturday working more closely together to improve regional security. Pablo Martinez Monsivais / The Associated Press

US president Donald Trump spoke by telephone on Saturday with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan and discussed working more closely with its NATO ally to improve regional security, the White House said.

"President Trump emphasised the common commitment of the United States and Turkey to work together to increase regional stability," a White House statement said.

The phone call came amid a backdrop of deteriorating relations between Washington and Ankara, NATO allies whose relations have soured over the US decision to arm Kurds in Syria to fight ISIL. Turkey regards the Kurdish militias as "terrorists".

Turkey has also repeatedly demanded, without success, that the US extradite Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish preacher who lives in Pennsylvania and is accused by Ankara of being behind a failed coup against Mr Erdogan in July 2016.

US authorities have also charged several Turks with violating financial sanctions against Iran, including former economy minister Zafer Caglayan.

Mr Erdogan denounced the charges as a politically-motivated decision against Turkey.

But he has said that, if the opportunity arises, he will meet with Mr Trump on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, which begins on September 19 in New York.

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