Turkey, US to continue talks on anti-ISIL fight
US Secretary of State John Kerry pauses during a news conference at the US Embassy in Baghdad, Sept. 10. REUTERS PhotoTalks between Turkey and the United States have intensified over the latter’s efforts to build an international coalition against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), with Turkey set to contribute to the efforts. President Barack Obama introduced his strategy early on Sept. 11.
As part of increased dialogue between Ankara and Washington, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is set to visit Ankara to consult with Turkish officials on Sept. 12. Kerry will meet with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu on his visit to Ankara, following up on Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel’s visit earlier this week.
Kerry’s visit follows a key meeting in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, where 11 countries including Turkey discussed the potential formation of a coalition against ISIL in line with a strategy outlined by President Obama.
Both Çavuşoğlu and Kerry attended the meeting in Jeddah, where threats and risks in the Middle East have been elaborated by a number of Western and regional countries aim to establish a team to “destroy the ISIL in Iraq and in Syria.”
Turkey has already made public its concerns about involvement, stressing particularly to its Western allies that it cannot be an active partner because it still has 49 hostages held captive by the extremist jihadists. Ankara has been holding security meetings almost every day to discuss the actions it can and cannot take against ISIL.
Turkey has said it will allow its NATO allies to use its bases and airspace for logistical and non-combat purposes, increase border security to stop the flow of foreign fighters into Iraq and Syria and continue its humanitarian assistance to those fleeing violence. Turkey is also expected to be able to contribute intelligence sharing and political support for these efforts.
Erdoğan meets PM, MİT chief, top soldiers
Meanwhile, Erdoğan hosted Prime Minister Davutoğlu, head of the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) Hakan Fidan, Chief of General Staff General Necdet Özel and force commanders as part of weekly routine meeting. The main agenda discussed at the meeting was the U.S.’s demand for Turkey’s active involvement in the coalition.
Turkey is still analyzing Obama’s anti-ISIL strategy and will outline its position in regard to the core group after further meetings.