November 24, 2017 / 2:19 PM / a year ago

Trump to speak with Turkey's Erdogan on peace efforts in region

U.S. President Donald Trump meets with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey during the U.N. General Assembly in New York, U.S., September 21, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque - RC1DD61619F0

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump said he will speak with President Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey later on Friday to discuss peace efforts in the Middle East, as the region grapples with multiple conflicts.

Trump has hailed Erdogan as a friend even as tensions over several issues have strained relations between the two countries.

“Will be speaking to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey this morning about bringing peace to the mess I inherited in the Middle East,” he said in a post on Twitter.

“I will get it all done, but what a mistake, in lives and dollars ... to be there in the first place!” Trump added.

No other details were given about the call, which comes amid yet another bloody attack in the region. At least 155 people were killed in a militant bomb and gun attack on a mosque in Egypt’s northern Sinai region, Egyptian state television reported on Friday.

Ankara has pressed Washington for the extradition of the cleric, Fethullah Gulen, who it says masterminded last year’s failed military coup. It has denied recent U.S. media reports that a U.S. special counsel is investigating an alleged proposal under which Trump’s former U.S. national security adviser would deliver Gulen to the Turkish government in exchange for millions of dollars.

Turkey has also been angered by U.S. support for Kurdish fighters in Syria and the indictment of a Turkish former economy minister over alleged violations of U.S. sanctions against Iran. Washington has complained about the detention of two locally employed staff at U.S. consulates in Turkey.

A U.S. grand jury indicted 15 Turkish security officials in August over a brawl between protesters and Erdogan’s security personnel during the Turkish president’s visit to Washington in May. Erdogan has called the indictment “undemocratic” and said it was not binding for Ankara.

Trump is spending the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday weekend at his Mar-a-Lago resort in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Reporting by Roberta Rampton in West Palm Beach, Fla., and Katanga Johnson and Susan Heavey in Washington; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Frances Kerry

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