Turkey, US discuss next phase in anti-ISIL fight after Paris attacks

Turkey, US discuss next phase in anti-ISIL fight after Paris attacks

Serkan Demirtaş - ANTALYA
Turkey, US discuss next phase in anti-ISIL fight after Paris attacks

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (R) shakes hands with U.S. President Barack Obama (L) ahead of the G-20 Summit at the Belek resort of Antalya on Nov. 15, 2015. AA Photo

The leaders of Turkey and the United States have discussed the next phase in their joint fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in a meeting that came just a day after bloody terrorist attacks in France.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and U.S. President Barack Obama held a one-hour talk early on Nov. 15 on the sidelines of the G-20 Summit taking place in Antalya with the participation of the two sides’ foreign ministers, Turkey’s Feridun Sinirlioğlu and the U.S.’ John Kerry.

“We are confronted with a collective effort that has been engaged in terrorism,” Erdoğan said as he listed the attacks committed by ISIL in different parts of the world, namely in Suruç, Diyarbakır, Ankara and most recently in Paris. “This act of terror is not only against the people of France but against all peoples of the world,” he added.

“I have also had the opportunity to discuss the fight we conduct against Daesh [the Arabic acronym of ISIL] in the next term in Syria with Mr. Obama. We also had the opportunity to assess the steps we will continue to take in respect to our efforts within the [anti-ISIL] coalition. As model partners and strategic partners, we will continue to show solidarity with each other with an understanding to work for global peace.”

Erdoğan also mentioned Obama as my “valuable friend.”

Obama: Turkey strong partner

Obama, for his part, first thanked Turkey and the people of Turkey for their hospitality in hosting the G-20 in “beautiful” Antalya.

Although the G-20 summits traditionally deal with global economic issues, this summit will ultimately focus on the developments related to the bloody Paris attacks, the U.S. president said, reiterating his government’s solidarity with the France in hunting down the perpetrators of this acts.

“As was true with the terrible attacks that took place in Ankara, the killing of innocent people based on a twisted ideology is an attack not just on France, not just on Turkey, but it’s an attack on the civilized world,” Obama said, adding that Turkey had been a “strong partner” with the U.S.-led coalition in going after ISIL in Syria and Iraq.

“The discussion we had today I think was very helpful in helping continue to coordinate work that we are doing together, to help to fortify the borders between Syria and Turkey that allow Daesh to operate,” Obama said.

Vienna talks

The Obama-Erdoğan meeting came just a day after the world powers agreed on a political transition plan for Syria that envisages six months of negotiations between the government and the opposition and elections within 18 months. Obama said he discussed the agreement with Erdoğan as well but did not further elaborate on it.

Sinirlioğlu and Kerry met over a working lunch hosted by the former after their presidents’ meeting. Both Erdoğan and Obama will hold press conferences on Nov. 16.

Turkey, US discuss next phase in anti-ISIL fight after Paris attacks