Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks to the media after Friday prayers, in Istanbul.(AP)
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks to the media after Friday prayers, in Istanbul.(AP)

Recep Tayyip Erdogan wishes to improve relations with new US administration

In a video message late Saturday, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan acknowledged that Turkish-American relations were “seriously tested” but stressed that their partnership has “overcome all kinds of difficulties.”
AP, Istanbul
PUBLISHED ON FEB 21, 2021 01:59 PM IST

Turkey’s president says mutual interests with the United States outweigh their differences and has called for more cooperation with President Joe Biden's new US administration.

In a video message late Saturday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan acknowledged that Turkish-American relations were “seriously tested” but stressed that their strategic partnership has “overcome all kinds of difficulties.”

Erdogan’s conciliatory tone follows his strongly worded accusations that the US supported Kurdish militants, days after Turkish troops found the bodies of 13 Turkish hostages held by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK in a cave complex in northern Iraq.

Ankara has been infuriated by American support for a Syrian Kurdish fighters in combatting the Islamic State group, saying they are linked to the decades-long Kurdish insurgency in southeastern Turkey that the US also lists as terrorists.

Erdogan said Saturday the US did not give Turkey the “desired support and solidarity” in fighting the PKK and linked groups, demanding a “clear stance” from Turkey’s allies.

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He also repeated the frustration over the continued US residency of Fethullah Gulen, a Muslim cleric accused of orchestrating the bloody 2016 coup attempt. Turkey wants Gulen’s extradition. He denies the allegations of links to the attempted coup.

“We believe our common interests with America far outweigh our differing opinions,” Erdogan said, adding that he wanted to strengthen relations through a “long-term perspective based on win-win.”

Erdogan’s video message was aired during the launch of a Turkish television channel in the US.

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text.
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