Erdogan, Donald Trump Turkish President says to open 'new page' in Turkey-US ties with US President

The summit between Erdogan and Trump in the United States in mid-May will be their first face-to-face encounter as heads of state.

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan gives a speech at the Atlantic Council summit in Istanbul on April 28, 2017 play

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan gives a speech at the Atlantic Council summit in Istanbul on April 28, 2017

(AFP)
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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday expressed confidence he would be able to open a "new page" in troubled relations with Washington at a meeting next month with his counterpart Donald Trump.

The summit between Erdogan and Trump in the United States in mid-May will be their first face-to-face encounter as heads of state and a chance to progress a relationship that became mired in a series of disputes under former president Barack Obama.

"I believe that we will open a new page with Mr Trump in Turkey-US relations," Erdogan told the Atlantic Council Istanbul summit.

Erdogan made clear he expected a turnaround from Trump on the use of the Syrian Kurdish Peoples' Protection Units (YPG) as the chief US ally on the ground in Syria in the battle against Islamic State (IS) jihadists.

Turkey says the YPG is merely the Syrian branch of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) separatists inside Turkey, who have waged an insurgency since 1984 that has left tens of thousands dead.

"There are still sensitive aspects in our bilateral relations that we want to bring to the position we are looking for," said Erdogan. "We expect our American friends to better understand the threats our country is facing and to show the solidarity that we need."

Of the US alliance with the YPG in Syria he said: "We can never accept cooperation with a terror organisation that is aiming at the lives of our people on the pretext of fighting against Daesh (IS)."

He said that "concrete support" given to the YPG by the United States in Syria was "harming the spirit of alliance and partnership".

His comments came after Turkey angered the United States this week by bombing YPG positions in Syria. There have also been successive clashes between the Turkish army and the YPG over the border in the last days.

Erdogan praised Trump for showing a "more determined" approach than Obama against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad after the air strikes this month that followed a suspected chemical attack.

"It was late coming but something that we welcomed," he said of the US air strikes. "The Assad regime has seen for the first time in six years that there will be no silence to the massacre of innocents."

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