Obama Speaks to Erdogan about Anti-IS Strikes in Iraq, Syria


President Barack Obama spoke briefly with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday about the war against the Islamic State group and the U.S.-led coalition which the Turks have yet to join.

Officials said Obama called Erdogan from Air Force One as he returned from the United Nations General Assembly in New York, where the Turkish leader met with Vice President Joe Biden.

The White House said that Obama and Erdogan discussed “our work together” to counter IS in Iraq and Syria and “steps we can take to advance our already strong cooperation.”

Obama also praised Turkey for dealing with a massive influx of refugees from Syria, including tens of thousands this week alone.

Turkey had made clear on Wednesday that neither its air bases nor air space were used by U.S. planes bombing IS in Syria.

Its initial hesitancy to join the effort by its NATO partner was fostered by the capture of dozens of its citizens including diplomats and children by IS.

But the release of the hostages on Saturday has led to mounting expectations that Turkey will now step up cooperation with Washington.

On Tuesday, Erdogan welcomed U.S.-led air strikes against the radicals in Syria and said Ankara could provide military or logistical support for the air campaign.


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