Turkey, US hold talks regarding fight against ISIS

Senior US officials and Turkish counterparts hold talks regarding fight against ISIS, emphasising increased efforts

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

Updated Jul 28, 2015

A team led by retired general John Allen, the US envoy tasked with forming a coalition against ISIS held talks on Tuesday and Wednesday with Turkish officials regarding cooperation and the forming of a coalition to fight against the militant group.

The talks ended on Wednesday, foreseeing Turkey to take considerable steps to stop ISIS militants from crossing its border with Syria.

“We discussed ways of strengthening the fight against Daesh [ISIS],” a Turkish diplomatic source said.

A US embassy official also spoke regarding the talks saying the Washington delegation held two days of “constructive meetings” with Turkish officials.

Turkey has already stepped up its efforts against ISIS, which is also acknowledged by the 2014 Global Terrorism Report published by the US State Department in June.

“The Government of Turkey intensified efforts to interdict the travel of suspected foreign terrorist fighters through Turkey to and from Syria and Iraq,” the report said.

As of June, Turkey banned 14,515 foreign fighters from entering the country and deported 1,471 others, according to the Migration Authority of the Interior Ministry Headquarters.

However, there are disagreements regarding the role of Kurdish groups in the fighting against ISIS between the two countries as Turkey’s concerns are not only about ISIS activities but also the moves by the People’s Protection Units (YPG).

The YPG is the militant wing of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), the Syrian wing of the outlawed PKK which is listed as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the EU and the US.

The US has been supporting Kurdish groups with air strikes since last year in their fight against ISIS in northern Syria.

"The Kurds are acting, and because the Kurds are capable of acting, we are supporting them, and that is successful," US Defense Secretary Ash Carter told the Senate Armed Services Committee in Washington on Tuesday.

However concerned by the activities by PYD and increased fighting between Syrian opposition groups and ISIS, Turkey stepped up its border security.

Turkey will consider any incursion west of the Euphrates River in northern Syria along the Turkish border by the PYD, as well as any attack north of Idlib by Syrian regime forces, as violation of a “red line,” the government said following a National Security Council (MGK) meeting on June 29.

Turkey’s National Security Council decided to take precautionary measures along the 110-kilometre long Turkish border line between Jarablus and Azez, tasking the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) for implementation of the measures.

The TAF has been on alert along the border and built a monitoring system in addition to transferring a number of aircraft and other equipment including tanks and armoured combat vehicles as well as personnel to the southeastern provinces of Diyarbakir, Hatay and Mardin.


TRTWorld and agencies