joe biden zagreb.jpg
Photograph: HINA/ Daniel KASAP / dk

US President Barack Obama and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan held a phone call ahead of visit to Istanbul this week by Vice President Joe Biden, Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

The agency said the call took place late on Tuesday night and focused on terrorism concerns, including last week's suicide bombing in Istanbul which killed 10 German tourists.

Biden's visit is likely to focus on the Islamic State in Syria during his visit.

The extremist group is hanging on to its last swathe of territory along the Turkish-Syrian border, a 90-kilometre stretch, and both countries have held extensive talks in the past about plans to dislodge the militia.

Biden is due to visit Turkey on Friday and Saturday and is scheduled to meet both Erdogan and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.

Turkey will likely try to get the US more onside with its ongoing battles against the armed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). Hundreds have died in the past five weeks as Turkey stepped up operations against the group.

The PKK's Syria wing is at the forefront of the fight against Islamic State and has received US backing, complicating the relations.

The US has also been trying to ease tensions between Iraq and Turkey over a Turkish military base in the neighbouring country, with Washington worried the dispute is getting in the way of the fight against Islamic State.

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