Turkey, US good partners in anti-ISIL efforts, US confirms
CİHAN PhotoU.S. State Department spokesperson Jeff Rathke said his country and Turkey have a good partnership in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), as he spoke during a June 10 press conference, following fresh remarks by American President Barack Obama, who said Turkey has not have not fully ramped up the capacity of its anti-foreign fighter efforts.
“We have a strong partnership with Turkey across all the lines of effort in the fight against ISIL. We have been working closely with Turkey; we’re going to continue working closely with Turkey. They play a key role, and we’re going to continue our partnership with them,” Rathke said.
“Turkey has already taken additional steps. We’ve worked closely with them, and again, we think there is more that can be done by all members of the coalition to stop the flow of foreign terrorist fighters. That’s a discussion that’s ongoing with our Turkish allies and that will continue,” he said.
Turkey has been one of the countries most affected by the fighting in Syria, the spokesman said, while responding to a question on whether he thought the shortcomings of Turkey’s efforts against foreign fighters thus far were an issue of will or capability or both.
“If you look at the refugees and displaced persons, if you look at the humanitarian consequences as well as the problems that ensue from the fighting happening right next door across the border. So we’ve been working closely with Turkey; Turkey does have the will to join with us in the fight against ISIL,” he said.
Thousands of foreign fighters have been flowing first into Syria, and then, often times, ultimately into Iraq, said Obama June 8 at the G-7 summit of the world’s wealthiest nations in Bavaria’s Elmau Castle.
“And not all of that is preventable, but a lot of it is preventable if we [foster] better cooperation, better coordination, better intelligence, and if we monitor what is happening at the Turkish-Syria border more effectively,” he said.
Turkish authorities had recognized the problem, the president concluded.
“This is an area where we have been seeking deeper cooperation with Turkish authorities who recognize the problem, but have not fully ramped up the capacity they need. And this is something that I think we have got to spend a lot of time on,” said Obama.
“I think the president was clear in saying that we think that more needs to be done because there is still a foreign fighter problem, and we’re committed to continuing to work with Turkey about that,” Rathke said.