Turkey looks forward to improving ties with US during Trump presidency

WION Ankara, Turkey Jan 09, 2017, 03.58 PM(IST)

Turkish President Erdogan delivers a speech during the ambassador's conference. Photograph:( AFP )

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has expressed hope that the dialogue between Turkey and the United States will gain momentum after Presdient-elect Donald Trump takes office, Reuters reported.

He hoped of reaching a consensus on regional issues after Trump takes over as the president.

"I believe we will accelerate dialogue when Mr Trump takes office. I believe we will reach a consensus with Mr Trump, particularly on regional issues," Erdogan told Turkish ambassadors gathered in Ankara for an annual conference, Reuters reported.

Turkey is a key NATO ally crucial to the US-led campaign against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.
Relations between the US and the Turkey have been strained after a failed coup attempt last year sought to overthrow the Turkish president. 

Erdogan blames the failed coup attempt on Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen who lives in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania in US.

Turkey wants US to extradite Gulen.

Another important issue that has created a rift between the two allies is US support for the YPG militia, a Syrian Kurdish group that is fighting the Islamic State.

Turkey sees the group as an extension of the PKK, which is behind a string of terror attacks in Turkey and seeks to achieve its goal of Kurdish autonomy.

Turkey's foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that Turkey expects Washington to extradite Gulen and end its cooperation with the Syrian YPG militia, Reuters reported.

The US on its part has skirted the issue of extradition by passing the responsibilty of extradition to the courts.

Trump's policy on the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia is unclear. 

Trump, however, has clearly outlined that his priority is to fight the Islamic State and not to force Assad out of power, something that Turkey has long desired.

(With inputs from Reuters)