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Trump Reiterates U.S. Support For Turkey In Call With Erdogan – White House

U.S. President Donald Trump reiterated support for Turkey "as a strategic partner and NATO ally" during a phone call with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on February 7, the offices of both leaders said.

Trump also spoke about the two countries' "shared commitment to combating terrorism in all its forms" and welcomed Turkey's contributions to the fight against the Islamic State militant group, the White House said in a statement.

The two leaders emphasized that Turkey and the United States were friends and allies, according to a statement from Erdogan's office said.

A NATO member which borders Syria, Iraq and Iran, Turkey is an important player in the region but Erdogan's relations with former U.S. President Barack Obama, as well as with Western Europe, have at times been strained.

Turkey has been frustrated by what it sees as Washington's reluctance to hand over Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom it accuses of masterminding an abortive coup four months ago.

The two NATO allies are also at odds over U.S. support for the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia, which Ankara regards as a terrorist organization.

There was no specific mention of key sticking points in both readouts.

However, Turkish news channel CNN Turk said that Erdogan had urged Trump to halt U.S. support for the YPG, while another Turkish television channel, NTV, said Erdogan had called for U.S. support in Turkey's fight against Gulen's "network."

Copyright (c) 2015. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.

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