Obama, Erdoğan discuss fight against ISIL in Iraq, Syria
ANKARATurkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and U.S. President Barack Obama discussed the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Syria and in Iraq on Oct. 26, along with Turkey’s concerns over the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), according to a statement from the Turkish presidency.
During the telephone conversation, which last more than an hour, the leaders agreed to fight ISIL in the region, notably in Syria and Iraq, as well to not permit the PKK to settle in northern Iraq, the statement said.
The two leaders also voiced support for the territorial integrity and political independence of Iraq, while Erdoğan also said the current operations in Mosul to rid the Iraqi city of ISIL should be conducted with sensitivity.
Obama said he was pleased with the dialogue process between Turkey and Iraq regarding Ankara’s participation in the anti-ISIL coalition. Turkey and Iraq are at odds about the presence of Turkish troops at a camp in Bashiqa, and about Ankara’s possible role in the U.S.-backed Mosul operation.
Obama also said he appreciated Turkey’s contribution to the anti-ISIL fight, especially for the use of Syrian Free Syrian Army (FSA) rebels to clear ISIL elements from the Turkish border.
Obama urged close cooperation in the fight against ISIL, the White House said in a statement.
“Obama noted the need for close coordination between the United States and Turkey to build on these successes and to apply sustained pressure on ISIL in Syria to reduce threats to the United States, Turkey, and elsewhere,” the statement said, according to AFP.
In addition, the U.S. president called for more dialogue on what he called “the appropriate level and form of Turkey’s participation in the counter-ISIL coalition’s efforts in Iraq.”
Obama also said he and Erdoğan agreed on their “strong support for the territorial integrity of Iraq,” the statement said.