Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Donald Trump discuss Kurds, Syria
President Trump spoke with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan Sunday about a “negotiated solution” for Syria, where the withdrawal of U.S. troops has alarmed Kurdish allies of America who are considered terrorists by the Turks.
In a phone call, Mr. Trump “underscored the importance of defeating terrorist elements that remain in Syria,” the White House said.
About 2,000 U.S. troops have been fighting the Islamic State in northeast Syria with the help of Kurdish fighters, near the border of Turkey. The administration has begun withdrawing those forces, with Mr. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence asserting that the terrorist group is all but destroyed.
“The two leaders agreed to continue to pursue a negotiated solution for northeast Syria that achieves our respective security concerns,” the White House said.
Mr. Trump has warned that the U.S. could devastate Turkey’s economy with sanctions if Akara takes action against the Kurds.
The White House said both leaders “discussed their mutual interest in expanding the trade relationship between the United States and Turkey.”
Mr. Erdogan also expressed his condolences for the loss of four Americans, including two U.S. soldiers, killed in a terrorist attack last week in Manbij, Syria. The Islamic State has claimed responsibility.