US defense secretary stresses alliance with Turkey

Ashton Carter welcomes Turkey's role in northern Syria

US defense secretary stresses alliance with Turkey

World Bulletin / News Desk

U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter met Turkish leaders on Friday when he reaffirmed the countries’ alliance and congratulated Turkey on successes against ISIL in Syria.

Carter thanked President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for “Turkey's resolve in the fight against terrorism and Turkey’s critical support for the counter-ISIL campaign in Syria and Iraq,” the Pentagon said in a statement that used an alternative acronym for ISIL.

The pair, meeting at the Presidential Palace in Ankara, talked about recent successes against ISIL during Operation Euphrates Shield and Carter congratulated Erdogan on Turkey’s “critical role” in recently seizing Dabiq in northern Syria.

The operation -- launched in August -- has seen Free Syrian Army fighters backed by the Turkish military rid large parts of north Syria of ISIL.

“Also discussed was the need to solidify and consolidate gains in Operation Euphrates Shield, to include increasing military cooperation and enhancing civilian and humanitarian work,” Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said in the statement.

Both sides also agreed to maintain frequent contact on mutual interests, including tackling ISIL.

Carter later met Prime Minister Binali Yildirim and Defense Minister Fikri Isik before touring parliament to inspect the damage caused during the July 15 coup attempt.

He expressed his condolences to the martyrs and their families and affirmed the U.S.’s “support for the long-term, strategic alliance” between the two countries, promising to “continue to stand side-by-side with NATO ally Turkey against shared threats.”

During his conversation with Carter, Yildirim stressed Turkey’s need to be involved in the operation to retake Mosul from ISIL, a source close to the prime minister said on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on talking to the media.

He also told Carter that Turkey was continuing its humanitarian efforts in Syria and working to resolve the civil war.

Last Mod: 22 Ekim 2016, 07:46
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