NEW YORK (REUTERS) - Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan tells Reuters he will deploy troops to Syria as part of a de-escalation plan worked out with Russia, and talks about his issues with the US and NATO.
"Turkey and Russia are in cooperation and solidarity on security matters," he said.
Mr Erdogan said he'll deploy troops in northern Syria as part of a deal with Russia to establish 'de-escalation' zones in the war-torn country, even as relations with Vladimir Putin get testier for the US and NATO, Turkey's longtime allies.
"Outside the borders of Idlib, the Russians are maintaining security, and inside Turkey is maintaining security," he said.
Erdogan also defending Turkey's decision to make other deals with Russia, including buying missiles, at the risk of rankling NATO.
Erdogan expressing frustration that the US continues to shelter exiled cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom he blames for orchestrating the military coup in July 2016.
"This is something that we need to be sensitive about. We've always said that whenever the United States demanded the extradition of terrorists, we would always go ahead and do that," he said.
Erdogan also warned against any US decision to arm the Kurdish militias battling the Syria government whom he views as an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party the Turkish government has battled for decades in southern Turkey.
Later Thursday, President Donald Trump praising Erdogan's leadership, suggesting that for now, all is well.