Turkey has faced increasing insecurity along its 900-km (560-mile) border with Syria.
“The United States contacted us before they sent in this group and said they are fighting against Daesh (Islamic State) and not the Syrian army at all”, he said.
“The US planes have begun arriving and soon we will launch a comprehensive fight against Daesh all together”, he told the official Anatolia news agency, using an Arabic acronym for IS. The killing of two police officers by alleged Kurdish rebels prompted the Turkish government to retaliate against the Kurdistan Workers Party, PKK, with airstrikes to strongholds which stretch from southeastern Turkey to northern Iraq.
That position changed after deadly attacks inside Turkey, some of which were blamed on Islamic State militants.
Cavusoglu spoke during a visit to Malaysia, where he met on the sidelines of a regional summit with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.
The Obama administration, which was overwhelmingly occupied with reaching a deal with Iran over its nuclear programme, refused to meet Turkey’s conditions. “The response, however, must be proportionate, targeted and by no means endanger the democratic political dialogue in the country”, Johannes Hahn, the EU commissioner for enlargement, said on Tuesday. Combat aircraft are expected to lift off from Turkey’s Incirlik air base, just 60 miles west of the Syrian border, in the near future, spokesman Jeff Davis said. The US had so far only launched surveillance drones from those bases, until this newest flight.
Since Iraq’s and Syria’s borders are in flux thanks to the Islamic State, we should think seriously about backing the Kurds – who have so loyally backed us – in their long-delayed and much-deserved national aspirations.
The Pentagon, which had last week offered assurances that none of the U.S.-trained Syrian fighters had been captured, declined to publicly provide those assurances on Monday.
Before this week, Ankara had only permitted the United States to fly surveillance missions from Incirlik, forcing the United States to rely largely on more distant bases and cutting down on the time U.S. aircraft can spend over target areas.
The Pentagon said it would not discuss specific “rules of engagement”, but U.S. officials suggested they would take action against any force threatening the U.S.-trained troops.
Diplomats familiar with the U.S.-led coalition’s plans say cutting off Islamic State’s access to the Turkish border, over which foreign fighters and supplies have flowed, could be a game-changer in the fight against the insurgents.
The U.S. said Wednesday that it had indications that some the rebels have been captured by al-Nusra.
Davis said the U.S. remains committed to defending the Syrian fighters, including against the threat from Nusra Front, noting that the U.S. used airstrikes to help repel the Nusra Front attack on Friday.
The Islamic State is thought to control around a third of the territory in.
“Although these operations started nearly simultaneously, they are separate”, the official said.