WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Tillerson said that the tone of his meetings with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had improved.
"I think our relationship here in Turkey, which has been under some stress for some time, I hope we are beginning to put it on the mend," Tillerson stated. "I think we are beginning to rebuild some of that trust that we lost in one another. They lost our trust, to a certain extent; we lost theirs."
He noted that Turkey’s strategic location, economic potential and the security situation in the region make the country an important US ally.
US-Turkish relations deteriorated after the failed July 2016 coup. Ankara does not support Washington arming Kurdish elements of its partners on the ground in Syria fighting the Daesh terror group (banned in Russia).
Turkey maintains the People’s Protection Units (YPG), part of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), to be part of the proscribed terror group Kurdistan People’s Party (PKK), while the United States considers them separate.
Tillerson was in Istanbul on Monday as part of a trip to the region that includes a stop in Kuwait.