The United States will continue to support Turkey in the fight against ISIS and the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), the US Secretary of Defence Jim Mattis said.
“The United States and Turkey have a long, deep and enduring security relationship that actually dates back to 1952 from modern times when Turkey became a member of NATO and we fought alongside each other in the Korean War,” Secretary Mattis said during a press conference with Turkish Minister of Defence Fikri Isik.
“This relationship continues today with United States and Turkish military forces working together to counter a wide range of threats to our common security, including terrorism from both ISIS and the PKK,” he said.
“Turkey is an essential NATO ally and a vital member of the Defeat-ISIS Coalition,” Mattis stated.
Moreover, the US Defence Secretary praised the role of Turkish soldiers that fought against ISIS.
“The integrated coalition air operations from Incirlik Air Base and those brave Turkey soldiers who fought to close the Turkish border from ISIS in Operation Euphrates Shield have shown the high priority both our nations place on this campaign,” he said.
“I also recognize and salute the humanity of the Turkish government and the Turkish people in managing the Syrian refugee flow and the associated humanitarian challenges. And I commend Turkey for its fast response to ensure the victims of the Assad regime’s hateful chloric gas attack received treatment in Turkish hospitals,” he concluded.
However, Mattis said more can be done to solve the problems in the complex war in Syria. “I am confident our nations can address these challenges together because we must work together. I look forward to strengthening our defense relationship, a relationship that is based on mutual respect between our militaries,” he said.
The Turkish Defence Minister on the other hand praised the US strikes against the Syrian government.
“At the outset, I want to reiterate our support and appreciation for the U.S. operation on the (inaudible) and hope that it will deter the regime from its barbaric attacks with or without chemical weapons,” Isik said.
“Today, we will discuss ways and means to eliminate threats emanating from terrorism in our region. In this regard, we will address outstanding issues an all challenges to regional and into national security, which requires determined and necessary actions from us,” he added.
Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg | Source: ARA News
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