Obama’s envoy says anti-ISIL talks in Ankara ‘productive’

Obama’s envoy says anti-ISIL talks in Ankara ‘productive’

Obama’s envoy says anti-ISIL talks in Ankara ‘productive’


Talks between the United States and Turkey on efforts to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) have been “productive,” the White House’s special envoy for the campaign against the ISIL said on May 16.

“Special Presidential Envoy General John Allen and Deputy Special Presidential Envoy Brett McGurk had productive talks with Under Secretary Feridun Sinirlioğlu in Ankara on our counter-ISIL cooperation,” the statement released by Ankara’s U.S. embassy said.

“General Allen, Ambassador McGurk and Under Secretary Sinirlioğlu discussed a number of ways in which the United States and Turkey can broaden and deepen our cooperation on counter-ISIL efforts, including the flow of foreign fighters,” it added.

According to the statement, General Allen thanked Turkey for supporting the train and equip program for Syrian opposition fighters. It stressed that opposition fighters will be trained and equipped to fight ISIL, as well as “promote the conditions for a negotiated settlement to end the conflict in Syria.”

Ankara is avoiding becoming a fully-fledged part of the anti-ISIL coalition unless Washington agrees to adopt an “integrated strategy” for Syria, including the removal of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from power.

On May 12, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu welcomed a train and equip program for moderate Syrian opposition on Turkish territory in cooperation with the United States but said more was needed.

“This will be effective but this will not be enough on its own and we have to take further steps,” he said, adding measures like air strikes were also not sufficient alone.

“In order to eradicate terrorism, we need to deal with the grassroots of terrorism,” he said ahead of the NATO Foreign Ministers meeting in the southern province of Antalya on May 13.