Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump on Monday discussed Syria issues, including the establishment of a safe zone in northern Syria, amid a diplomatic spat over the U.S. withdrawal from the region.

According to a statement released by Turkish Presidency, in a phone conversation, the two leaders emphasized the importance of fulfilling the Manbij roadmap, as well to prevent any elements from seeking to block the planned U.S. forces’ withdrawal from Syria.

Turkey welcomes Trump’s troops withdrawal decision, and is ready to provide all kinds of support in this regard, Erdogan said.

Erdogan reiterated that Turkey has no problems with Kurds and its goal is to rid the region of extremist groups and outlawed Kurdish militias, such as Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) and its Syrian branch.

The two leaders also agreed to advance bilateral economic relations.

Turkey regards the People’s Protection Units (YPG), who are allied with U.S. in the fight against the Islamic State group, as offshoot of outlawed PKK rebels inside Turkey.

Earlier Monday, Trump threatened Ankara of economic devastation if it hits Kurdish forces as American troops withdraw, and proposed the creation of a safe zone.

In response, Turkish presidential spokesman criticized that the U.S. made a fatal mistake to equate Syrian Kurds with Kurdish militias PYD/YPG.

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