U.S. and Turkey discuss transition away from Assad in Syria

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said he and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan he had discussed a transition of power in Syria away from President Bashar al-Assad during a four-hour meeting in Istanbul

U.S. and Turkey discuss transition away from Assad in Syria

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday that Turkey is determined to strengthen its cooperation with the U.S. against ISIL to maintain regional peace and security.

Erdogan and U.S. Vice President Biden held a press conference in Istanbul addressing the cooperation between Turkey and the U.S. in fight against ISIL.

It also addressed the humanitarian crisis caused by conflicts on the other side of Turkey’s southern border.

"We had a chance to discuss recent issues with Biden. It is a pleasure to announce that Turkey and the U.S. have a consensus on several regional issues," Erdogan told the press after a working dinner with Biden.

Erdogan said that global peace is facing critical threats and stressed the importance of strategic cooperation between the two countries. 

"The coordinated steps taken by Turkey and the U.S. will have a role in changing the future of the region," he said. "Turkey is determined to strengthen its relationship with the U.S. to maintain regional peace and security."

Joe Biden said the U.S. needs Turkey in its fight against ISIL. 

"We are attempting to both stem the flow of foreign fighters to battlefields in Iraqi and Syria and dry their funding. We thank Turkey for their leadership in that regard," Biden said.

The U.S. vice president noted that the Turkish president and he talked about their work as part of an international coalition to degrade and eventually to defeat ISIL.

They also talked about Syria’s future, Biden added.

"On Syria, we discussed ... not only to deny ISIL a safe haven and roll back and defeat them, but also strengthen the Syrian opposition and ensure a transition away from the Assad regime," Biden told a joint news conference with Erdogan.

He said, "We had a candid discussion and we strategized together as allies and friends do."

Regarding Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu’s most recent visit to Erbil and Baghdad, Biden said Turkey had shown significant leadership in helping Iraq during its latest turmoil.

"I told president (Erdogan) how impressed and pleased the Iraqi government was with the fact that he and his government reached out a hand to the Iraqi people and government," he said.

Biden said they also spoke about their nations' efforts to train and equip moderate Syrian opposition forces protecting their communities. 

He said: "Turkey, as a consequence of the ongoing Syrian civil war, is carrying a heavy humanitarian burden. The people of Turkey have welcomed and cared for those displaced by this war, and accommodating so many refugees has been a costly proposition."

Referring to the Cyprus issue, Biden said that, if there was political will, there was potential for a solution which would be beneficial for both Cypriots and people in the wider region.

He called on both sides to return to the negotiating table.

This was the vice president's first visit to Turkey since he criticized the country in a speech at Harvard University on Oct. 2 for "contributing to the rise of ISIL."

His accusation angered Erdogan, who said at the time, “Biden has to apologize for his statements," otherwise becomes "history to me."

On Oct. 4, the White House released a statement saying, "The vice president apologized for any implication that Turkey or other allies and partners in the region had intentionally supplied or facilitated the growth of ISIL or other violent extremists in Syria."

Joe Biden is to leave Turkey for Washington on Sunday after a meeting with Istanbul-based Greek Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I.

Patriarch Bartholomew I is the spiritual leader of the world’s Eastern Orthodox churches.

AA

Last Mod: 23 Kasım 2014, 10:29
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