Jun 26 2018

White House to arrange Erdoğan-Trump phone call - U.S. press secretary

U.S. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said plans were underway to set up a call between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and U.S. President Donald Trump to reaffirm the strong bond between the two NATO allies and resolve issues.  

Erdoğan won both Sunday’s presidential and parliamentary elections, surviving what was believed to be the most serious challenge to his political dominance on the nation he has ruled for more than 15 years.

Sanders said during Monday's press conference that the Trump administration encourages ''Turkey to take steps to strengthen its democracy and continue progress toward resolving issues in the bilateral relationship."

A State Department official told Ahval in an email, "We respect the decision of Turkish voters and look forward to a constructive relationship with President Erdogan as we jointly confront common challenges.  We encourage all of Turkey’s elected representatives, including President Erdogan, to represent the diverse views of all of Turkey’s citizens and to strengthen Turkey’s democracy."

Turkey-U.S. relations have hit a rough patch in recent years with Erdoğan demanding Washington extradite U.S.-based Turkish cleric Fethullah Gülen, a former ally he blames for the July 2016 coup attempt. 

Turkey’s ongoing detention of American pastor Andrew Brunson on charges of aiding and abetting the Gülen movement has also widened the political rift between Ankara and Washington. The U.S. Senate passed a bill last week that allows Washington to remove Turkey from the production of F-35 advanced fighter jets due to Ankara's purchase of the Russian S-400 air defence system.