US and Turkey discuss cooperation on combating against ISIL

US and Turkey discuss cooperation on combating against ISIL

The high-profile US delegation holds a lengthy meeting in Ankara on possible ways to increase cooperation in combating the extremists

News Service Yeni Şafak
US President Barrack Obama's envoy for the global coalition to counter ISIL, John Allen, arrived in Turkey on Tuesday to discuss possible cooperation in combating against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL.

The retired General Allen met Turkey's key diplomat, Foreign Ministry Under Secretary, Feridun Sinirlioğlu, and senior military officials. The meeting, which lasted for nearly eight hours, indicated that both countries have a very busy agenda in connection with the combating in the extremists.

The key delegation, led by Allen, also huddled with Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, as part of their vicit to Ankara. There is no statement from either sides on the visit which was paid before Turkey's imminent cross-border operation in Syria.

The state-run TRT, quoted sources from the US embassy in Ankara, as saying that the visit by the high-level US delegation aims to increase cooperation with a NATO ally in battling ISIL and stopping its relentless advance.

The US anti-terror official had flown to Ankara along with Christine Wormuth, the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy.

Earlier, government sources said that the Washington is demanding Ankara to open İncirlik base in the Adana province and a military base in the Kurdish-majority city province of Diyarbakır for the ongoing strikes targeting ISIL positions.

US officials were holding talks with senior officials in Ankara over the recent weeks, but there is no report which has confirmed that the US's request to use Turkey's air bases has been discussed during Allen's talks with security officials.

“The US principally wants the air bases to be opened to make a decision over Turkey's demands, connected with its border security and Syrian refugees. If Turkey opens its air bases for operations, the US will give assistance for armed groups supporting Turkey that will actively be involved in the operations" said a security source, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Washington considers Turkey's demands on imposing the safe zone and no-fly zone in Syria as two different options, which are completely separate from each other. The no-fly zone strategy seems to find a cold response in Washington, as US officials suggest that this is a highly-expensive option as it requires war planes and anti-aircraft launchers for patrolling duty.

The US and Turkey have agreed that ISIL must be repelled from the Jarabulus city, but failed to reach a consensus over who will be involved in the operation. It is still unclear whether PYD-linked Kurdish fighters or the rebel groups, close to Ankara, or Turkey's direct military intervention will be used to fend off ISIL insurgents from Jarabulus, which lines the Syrian border with Turkey.

The question of who will control Jarabulus is Turkey's red line. Talks have reportedly become knotted at this point. Turkey is seriously concerned that a corridor will be opened stretching from Jarabulus to Afrin, if PYD-linked militia advances in Jarabulus. Turkey does not desire to see PYD forces going beyond the western bank of the Euphrates River.

Ankara has strongly criticized the YPG fighters' campaign, which was conducted in the predominantly Arab and Turkmen areas as part of PYD's plan to settle Kurdish communities in these areas.

A top Turkmen leader, Abdurrahman Mustapha, recently confirmed the Kurdish militia has conducted an ethnic cleansing campaign for an independent Kurdish state to be established just on the other side of Turkey's border with Syria.


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