A military team from the United States will visit the Turkish capital of Ankara next week to discuss “areas of cooperation…required to degrade and ultimately defeat” the Islamic State group, the U.S. Department of State said, in a statement released Thursday.
The announcement from the state department came after back-to-back meetings between U.S. envoys and Turkish leaders, including Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, on Thursday. State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said that the two countries held “detailed and constructive talks.”
“General (John) Allen, Deputy Special Envoy (Brett) McGurk, and their Turkish interlocutors discussed several measures to advance the military line of effort against ISIL (Islamic State),” Psaki said. “Both sides also agreed that we will continue a dynamic and deepening bilateral consultation process across the multiple lines of effort against ISIL, including military support, countering foreign fighters, counter-finance, humanitarian assistance, and de-legitimizing ISIL's messaging and rhetoric.”
She, however, did not outline specific commitments made by Turkey toward joining the U.S.-led campaign against the Islamic State group. Turkey, had, earlier on Thursday, ruled out launching a ground operation against ISIS in Syria, calling the demands to do so "not realistic."
The meetings in Ankara came amid clashes between pro-Kurdish demonstrators and police across major cities in Turkey, which have so far killed over 30 people, including two police officers, according to local media reports.
Protesters have demanded that Turkey, which has so far refused to get militarily involved in the fight against ISIS across the border in Syria, do more to prevent the Kurdish-populated Syrian border town of Kobane from falling under the control of the Islamic State group.
The town of Kobane has been under siege since Sept. 16 as ISIS militants carried out a series of concerted attacks, capturing over a third of the town on Thursday.
Meanwhile, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel also urged Turkey to allow the U.S. military to access the Turkish air base at Incirlik, and sign an agreement to help arm and train moderate Syrian rebels battling militants of the Islamic State group in Syria, Associated Press reported.