Turkey's Erdogan hopeful for breakthrough in dispute on arming Syrian Kurds

Turkey's Erdogan hopeful for breakthrough in dispute on arming Syrian Kurds

Turkey's president has said he expects his upcoming visit to the US will constitute a new "milestone" for the troubled relations between the two Nato allies.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan also said he hopes that talks with US President Donald Trump in Washington will lead to a "breaking point" in the US decision to arm Syrian Kurdish rebels.

He was speaking to reporters before leaving for China, followed by the trip to Washington.

Turkey has been angered by a US decision to provide arms to Syrian Kurdish fighters that it considers terrorists.

The US considers the Kurdish fighters as the most effective group in the fight against Islamic State militants.

Ankara wants the decision reversed, concerned that the weapons will end up in the hands of Kurdish militants in Turkey.

Ties have also been strained by Turkey's demand for the extradition of US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen whom Turkey blames for last year's failed coup attempt.

"I see this trip as a new milestone in Turkey-US relations," Mr Erdogan said.

"I want to consider all the information we have received so far (on US arming Syrian Kurds) as hearsay... And I think this trip will be a breaking point on this issue."

AP

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