World Bulletin/News Desk
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has arrived for a two-day visit to Ankara for a series of meetings following his Middle East tour as part of the U.S.' efforts to gain support in fighting against the so-called 'Islamic State' (IS).
Kerry's visit comes after ten Arab states signed a joint communique in the western Saudi city of Jeddah on Thursday to fight IS - also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), pledging to take action to stop the flow of fighters from joining the group.
Kerry will meet Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu and he is also scheduled to meet with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.
Turkey, who also participated in the meeting in Jeddah, refrained from signing a joint declaration on the fight against IS. Turkey's foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu will continue his contacts through bilateral meetings.
Turkey is seen as a crucial if reluctant ally in the fight against ISIL, which controls large parts of Syria and has seized territory in the oil-rich north of Iraq.
Kerry's vsit comes after he left Saudi Arabia on Thursday to secure Arab support.
NATO member Turkey has long had close strategic ties with Washington, but Turkish officials have expressed concerns over the country's role in any efforts to tackle ISIL.
Some 49 Turkish nationals, including a senior diplomat, have been held by the militants since June, after they seized the Turkish consulate in Mosul. Erdogan has warned against jeopardising efforts to have them released.
On Wednesday, U.S. President Barack Obama announced extended bombing raids against ISIL targets in Iraq and authorised them in Syria for the first time. He said the United States would work with regional allies to tackle the threat.
In a visit to Ankara this week, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Turkey would play a role in the fight against ISIL, but that the country's "limitations" would be respected.
"They want to play roles, specific roles. They will play those. (They) will be articulated by the Turkish government - not by me - when that decision is made," he added.Last Mod: 12 Eylül 2014, 14:35