U.S. Secretary of Defense in Turkey, meeting on ISIL
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, left, met Monday with Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the president of Turkey, to gauge Turkey’s willingness to participate in an American-led coalition against the militant group ISIS, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. (Reuters) The Obama administration on Monday began the work of trying to determine exactly what roles the members of its fledgling coalition of countries to fight the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria will play, with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel huddled with the leaders of the one country the administration has called “absolutely indispensable” to the fight: Turkey. More coverage from the New York Times here.
Erdogan, Syrian Rebels’ Leading Ally, Hesitates
Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan has long been a leading supporter of the Syrian Rebels, but has recently distanced himself from the movement over concerns that rebel forces are dominated by Islamic radicals. The Turkish military shelled rebel positions this week after a stray artillery round fired by the rebels landed on Turkish soil. To read more click here.
Readout of President Obama’s Call with Prime Minister Erdogan of Turkey
President Obama spoke by phone on June 24 with Prime Minister Erdogan of Turkey. The President and Prime Minister discussed developments in Syria, including the regime’s use of chemical weapons against its own people, our shared commitment to pursuing a political solution, the need to provide additional support to the Syrian Coalition and the Supreme Military Council to improve their effectiveness, and the importance of close bilateral cooperation on contingency planning and counterterrorism efforts. The Prime Minister also described the situation in Turkey. The two leaders discussed the importance of nonviolence and of the rights to free expression and assembly and a free press.
Secretary Kerry and FM Davutoglu had a phone conversation over the weekend
Department of State Spokesperson Jen Psaki confirmed that Secretary of State John Kerry spoke with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on June 15. Although the call was focued on Syria, the ongoing protests in Turkey were also discussed. Psaki said “we remain focused on calling on all parties to ease tensions and to resolve the situation through dialogue, taking into account views from across the political spectrum. We also continue to urge all sides to exercise restraint and avoid violence.” Read below the full excerpt:
Obama’s Best Friend? The Alarming Evolution of U.S.-Turkish Relations
By: Dr. Ariel Cohen / Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies Dr. Ariel Cohen penned the 100th report of Begin-Sadat Center’s Middle East Security and Policy Studies. Cohen is a senior research fellow in Russian and Eurasian Studies and International Energy Policy at the Katherine and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for International Policy at The Heritage Foundation. Below is the executive summary of the report, which you can access in full here.