US pleased with Turkish vote to act against militants

The United States Thursday welcomed a vote by Turkey`s parliament giving a green light to take military action against the Islamic State militant group.

AFP| Last Updated: Oct 03, 2014, 05:09 AM IST

Washington: The United States Thursday welcomed a vote by Turkey`s parliament giving a green light to take military action against the Islamic State militant group.

"We`ve been closely engaged with Turkey. We welcome the Turkish parliament`s vote to authorize Turkish military action," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters.

The move allows the deployment of armed forces in Syria and Iraq, as well as the transit of foreign forces in Turkish territory for operations against militants also know by the acronym ISIL. But it remains unclear if Turkey will allow lethal weapons to transit its territory.

"We`ve had numerous high-level discussions with Turkish officials to discuss how to advance our cooperation in countering the threat posed by ISIL in Iraq and Syria. Those will continue and we look forward to strengthening that cooperation," Psaki said.

Washington has been striving to build an international alliance against the jihadists who have captured a swathe of Iraq and Syria.

Five Arab nations have participated in the strikes on Syrian soil, while the same number of European countries have committed aircraft to Iraq.

But Ankara was notable in its absence during the early weeks of the US coalition-building efforts, before almost 50 Turks held hostage by the militants were finally released.

Retired US general John Allen, who is leading the international effort against IS, is expected to arrive for talks in Turkey next week at the end of trip focused on boosting the coalition accompanied by special envoy to Iraq Brett McGurk.

"They will meet with Turkish military and political leaders to discuss their potential contributions to the international coalition, including combating the threat from foreign fighters," Psaki said, adding there would also be discussions with the Syrian opposition.