Trump, Turkish leader discuss Syrian crisis in phone call

PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — President Donald Trump spoke Friday with Turkey’s president “about bringing peace to the mess that I inherited in the Middle East” before hitting the links with Tiger Woods and pro golfer Dustin Johnson.

In a series of morning tweets from Florida, Trump said he’d be calling Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to discuss the situation in the Middle East. “I will get it all done, but what a mistake, in lives and dollars (6 trillion), to be there in the first place!” he wrote.

Trump railed during his campaign about the ongoing conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq but has boasted about progress under his watch in recent months. Trump has used the $6 trillion figure to describe U.S. spending on Middle East conflicts, though fact checkers have said the number is only partially accurate, since it falls on the high end of analysts’ estimates and includes future costs, such as future medical care and disability benefits as well as nation-building costs.

Erdogan said they discussed the Syrian crisis and other regional issues during their phone call Friday, and that they also discussed ties between Turkey and the United States.

Their talk came days after Erdogan attended a trilateral meeting with the Russian and Iranian leaders in Sochi, Russia, to promote a peaceful settlement in Syria. Relations between NATO allies Turkey and the United States have soured over a number of issues, including U.S. support to Syrian Kurdish fighters which Ankara considers to be terrorists because of their links to outlawed Kurdish rebels in Turkey.

The leaders also called on other countries to provide humanitarian aid, clear Syrian territory of mines and restore vital infrastructure destroyed by the war.

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