US anti-ISIL envoy to hold talks in Turkey on Oct 9-10

US anti-ISIL envoy to hold talks in Turkey on Oct 9-10

Sevil Erkuş ANKARA
US anti-ISIL envoy to hold talks in Turkey on Oct 9-10

John Allen, the US special presidential envoy for the global coalition to counter ISIL, speaks during a press conference in Baghdad on Oct. 3. AP Photo

President Barack Obama’s special representative in dealing with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) threat, former Gen. John Allen, and the deputy undersecretary of the Department of State, Ambassador Brett McGurk, will hold talks with Turkish officials on Oct. 9-10.

The talks aim to determine what roles Turkey can play in the anti-ISIL coalition, diplomatic sources told Hürriyet Daily News.

The U.S. delegation will seek to advance Turkey’s role in the coalition, both in military terms, along with efforts to counter the financing of the jihadist group and recruitment of foreign fighters.

Following Parliament’s vote for the motion authorizing the government to deploy troops to foreign countries and to allow the deployment of military forces from other countries, Turkey is set to negotiate with the U.S.-led coalition regarding the fight against ISIL.

Ankara has urged Washington to declare safe havens and a no-fly zone in Syria, in return for a Turkish contribution to the military coalition. Turkey is also insistent on including efforts to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as part of the U.S. strategy for Syria.

Allen and McGurk have recently visited the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) capital of Arbil, as well as Belgium, where they briefed NATO.

U.S. Department of State Spokesperson Jen Psaki said on Oct. 1 that the objective of Allen’s tour was to “determine the roles” in the coalition. Along with the flow of foreign fighters across Turkey’s border, discussions will also focus on the country’s role in “delegitimizing ISIL,” she added.

“They can play a role in the counter-ISIL coalition, delegitimizing ISIL. They can play a role in a number of areas. Clearly, there’ll be a discussion about countering the flow of foreign fighters, but it will also be about financing terrorists, about certainly what their military engagement will be, as well as countering their [ISIL’s] extremist ideology,” Psaki said.