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Turkey’s Erdogan, Trump agree on steps for stronger ties

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, right, listens to Technology Minister Mustafa Varank at a defence technology development meeting, in Ankara, Turkey, Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2018. Turkey's state-run news agency says the Turkish military has shelled positions held by U.S.-backed Kurdish fighters across the border east of the Euphrates River in Syria, killing four Kurdish fighters and wounding six others. The attack came a day after Erdogan said Turkey has finalized plans for a "comprehensive and effective" operation to drive out Kurdish militia from the region.(Presidential Press Service via AP, Pool)

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkish officials say U.S. President Donald Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan have agreed to take “constructive steps” toward strengthening ties.

In a telephone call Thursday, Turkish officials said the two leaders also discussed Syria and agreed to maintain “close contacts” concerning bilateral and regional issues.

Their conversation came as Turkish and U.S. troops began conducting joint patrols around the Syrian town of Manbij, as part of an agreement that aimed to ease tensions between the two NATO allies. Ties were strained over Turkish demands for the withdrawal of U.S.-backed Kurdish militia that drove Islamic State militants out of Manbij in 2016.

Erdogan also conveyed Turkey’s condolences over the Pittsburgh synagogue attack that left 11 people dead.

The officials provided the information on condition of anonymity in line with government regulations.

Copyright © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.



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