President Barack Obama today reaffirmed US’ ‘strong commitment’ to partner with ally Turkey to defeat the Islamic State terrorist group, saying he would “not rest until we have dismantled these networks of hate.”
In a call to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan from his Air Force One, Obama expressed his condolences over death of 41 people in the suicide terror attack at the country’s largest airport, which has been blamed on the Islamic State (IS).
“We will not rest until we have dismantled these networks of hate that have had an impact on the entire civilised world.
We stand with the people of Turkey,” Obama said after meeting his Mexican counterpart Enrique Pena Nieto on the sidelines of the North American Summit.
“I had a chance to speak to President Erdogan earlier today to discuss with him not only how heartbroken we have been by the images of the injured and those killed, but also to reaffirm our strong commitment to partner with Turkey, with NATO, with the broad-based alliance that we have structured around the world to fight ISIL,”
“It’s an indication of how little vicious these vicious organizations have to offer beyond killing innocents,” he added.
“They’re continually losing ground, unable to govern those areas that they have taken over. They’re going to be defeated in Syria, they’re going to be defeated in Iraq,” he asserted.
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Obama placed that phone call to express his deep condolences on behalf of the American people to the Turkish people for the lives that were lost in yesterday’s terror attack at the Istanbul airport.
“In the context of that call, the President will, in addition to expressing his condolences, offer any support that the Turks could benefit from as they conduct this investigation and take steps to further strengthen the security situation in that country,” Earnest said.
As of now there is no change in plans of Obama’s travel to Europe next week.
In the context of that travel to Warsaw, the President will have an opportunity to meet with our NATO allies, including Turkey, he said.
Earnest says the President will have an opportunity “in some setting” to meet with the Turkish president and he expects that the attacks will be discussed at today’s summit as well. “This is something that will certainly be on the minds of all three North American leaders,” he said.
“We’ve made important progress in Iraq and in Syria against ISIL,” Earnest said adding that there’s been “notable progress” in Iraq recently, pointing to the recapture of Fallujah.
“This was obviously a significant gain by Iraqi forces and we obviously were pleased by that progress. But we continue to be concerned by the ability that ISIL has to carry out these kind of terrorist attacks, not just in Iraq and Syria but in other places,” he said.