February 15, 2018 / 9:22 PM / 6 months ago

Tillerson and Turkey's Erdogan had productive conversation: U.S. spokesman

ANKARA (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday had a “productive, open conversation” about a mutually beneficial way to improve U.S.-Turkey relations, a State Department spokesman traveling with Tillerson said.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan meets U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in Ankara, Turkey February 15, 2018. Kayhan Ozer/Presidential Palace/Handout via REUTERS

Tillerson met with Erdogan for more than three hours in Ankara, as part of what was widely expected to be the most difficult leg of a five-day regional visit.

Relations between the NATO partners have been strained over a number of issues, particularly Washington’s support for the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia, which Ankara calls terrorists.

Reporting by Yara Bayoumy; Writing by David Dolan; Editing by Andrew Heavens

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