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US, Turkish officials meet in Ankara to discuss combatting ISIL terrorism

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Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) Brett McGurk and US Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu in Ankara on Tuesday to discuss cooperation against ISIL in Syria.

At a time of disagreements between the two countries on a number of issues, the US and Turkey have been trying to accommodate each other’s policies to combat ISIL. Turkey crossed into Syria in late August to push back ISIL elements from the Turkey-Syria border, and Ankara-allied rebels captured key border towns and villages, inflicting a blow to the extremist group.

Blinken and McGurk visited the Turkish Parliament on Tuesday to view the site bombed by rebel factions in the air force during a failed coup attempt on July 15.

The US officials will also meet with other Turkish diplomats and officials to discuss an anticipated operation to wrest Raqqa from ISIL. While Ankara initially expressed willingness to take part in the operation, it recently ruled out participation.

Presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin recently said Turkey would not join the US-led campaign if Kurdish militia the People’s Protection Units (YPG) takes part in the operation.

Ankara views the YPG as a terrorist group due to its links to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is designated as a terrorist organization by the US, the EU and Turkey.

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