WASHINGTON, Nov 14 (KUNA) -- US President Donald Trump has dubbed his encounter with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as "wonderful and very productive."
Speaking at a joint news conference with Erdogan following the summit talks, late on Wednesday, Trump said, "We had a wonderful and very productive meeting.
"Turkey, as everyone knows, is a great NATO ally and a strategic partner of the United States around the world. Our economic relationship has tremendous potential and continues to expand and to grow."
Trump expressed deep admiration of the Turkish leader, saying, "I'm a big fan of the president. We have a great relationship, both personally and with the great country of Turkey."
On the former American detainee, Trump thanked his guest for releasing Serkan Golge who was "in detention, in different forms of detention, that's very good news for the United States and also very good news for Turkey."
On Syria, he indicated that coordination with Ankara was improving in this respect, though the situation in the troubled nation remained complicated.
"Today the cease-fire continues to hold, and I want to thank the president for his partnership and cooperation as we work to build a more stable and peaceful and prosperous Middle East. Turkey will continue to uphold what it's supposed to uphold."
He added that the US and Turkey are working extensively on many other security issues. Turkey has the second-largest armed forces in NATO after the United States. And "I'm pleased that Turkey has been steadily increasing its defense spending, and it's very close to the two percent of GDP range."
Regarding terrorism, Turkey has made a vital contribution to NATO's resolute support mission in Afghanistan and its partnership was important to "our destruction of the ISIS caliphate."
"We're grateful to President Erdogan and to the citizens of Turkey for their cooperation in the constant struggle against terrorism."
At the defense level, Trump stated, "Key to our security collaboration is our trade defense and military equipment program. American foreign military sales to Turkey total many billions of dollars, and Turkey supplies component parts to many American defense programs. They make parts of the frame, as an example, for the F-35.
Turkey's acquisition of sophisticated Russian military equipment, such as the S-400, "creates some very serious challenges for us," trump said, "and we are talking about it constantly. Hopefully we'll be able to resolve that situation."
On trade, the American president indicated that Washington was seeking to expand commercial cooperation with Ankara. "We've also recently agreed to work toward a $100 billion two-way trade agreement. Secretary Ross is here, and I think we've made tremendous progress in that. That would be four times what it is right now. Our markets are open. Turkey is opening up their markets, and they're opening up rapidly." (end)