TURKEY (Reuters) – Turkey’s president on Tuesday said the country was open to dialogue with the United States, the first such acknowledgement by a Western leader of a US military presence in Turkey.
Erdogan’s comments were a surprise, as he had been expected to say he would open talks with Washington, but he stressed that Turkey did not want a confrontation with the West.
“Turkey is not the first country in the world to accept dialogue with America,” he told reporters, saying that the U.S. was a country with “deep historical and cultural links” with Turkey.
“We have the same principles as the United Kingdom.
The West is not a threat,” Erdogan said.
He added that he would also try to reach an agreement on the deployment of U.N. peacekeepers in Turkey and that he was open “to the idea of dialogue”.
“If there is a peaceful resolution of the situation in Syria, there is no need to use force, and if there is the possibility of talks, there should be no conflict,” Erdogan added.
Turkey has not held peace talks since 2013, and has repeatedly blocked the U and EU-backed Syrian peace process in the country’s south.