France’s Hollande: Turkey needs to ramp up ISIL fight

France’s Hollande: Turkey needs to ramp up ISIL fight

PARIS – Reuters
France’s Hollande: Turkey needs to ramp up ISIL fight

AFP photo

French President Francois Hollande said Aug. 25 that Turkey should do more to tackle Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Syria and urged it to restore dialogue with Kurdish groups after launching strikes against them more than a month ago. 

Hollande delivered his annual foreign policy speech to French ambassadors a day after the Turkish foreign minister told Reuters that Turkey and the United States would launch air operations to push ISIL from a border area in northern Syria, something that could help prevent the militants bringing in fighters and arms in. 

“All the players need to be part of the solution. I’m thinking of Gulf Arab states and Iran. I’m thinking of Turkey that needs to be involved in the fight against Islamic State and needs to re-launch dialogue with the Kurds.” Hollande said, referring to the broken Kurdish peace bid in Turkey and the talks with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). 

Hollande reiterated that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad could not be part of his country’s future, but said there were signs that a political transition could be found. 

France, which has taken part in air strikes against ISIL in Iraq but not Syria, said there were no plans to change that policy. 

“We will continue to help the Syrian opposition and participate in the coalition in Iraq ensuring it is more effective,” he said. 

Hollande also said the deal reached with Iran over its nuclear programme opened a window of opportunity to include it in resolving regional crises such as Syria, where it is Assad’s primary backer.