Turkey, US discuss joint action against ISIL

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan with U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel during their meeting at the Presidential Palace of Cankaya in Ankara Sept. 8. REUTERS Photo / Handout

Turkey and the United States have launched talks to discuss potential ways of cooperating against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) following a proposal by Washington to form an anti-terror coalition against the rapidly expanding jihadists.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel met top Turkish officials Sept. 8 to take Ankara’s pulse on what Turkey can do to take part in the coalition, given the fact that 49 of its citizens are being held hostage at the hands of ISIL.

Hagel first met with Turkey’s top soldier, Chief of General Staff Gen. Necdet Özel, at the military headquarters, before meetings with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and Defense Minister İsmet Yılmaz. Hagel’s visit was interpreted as a follow-up to Erdoğan’s meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama on the sidelines of the NATO Summit in Wales last week during which nine NATO countries, including Turkey, as well as Australia, discussed the formation of a core group to “destroy ISIL.”

Obama will announce Washington’s strategy against ISIL on Sept. 10. He called on Sunni countries, like Turkey, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, to participate in the international community’s efforts to dislodge the jihadists, in an interview with the NBC Sept. 8

“I think that it is absolutely true that we’re going to need Sunni states to step up, not just Saudi Arabia, our partners like Jordan, the United Arab Emirates and Turkey [too]. They need to be involved. This is their neighborhood. The dangers that are posed are – are more directed at them right now than they are us,” Obama told the NBC.

Turkey raises concerns

Meanwhile, Turkey appears to have indicated that it would list certain caveats to...

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