Obama Stresses US Support for Turkey and Work on Military Ties + VIDEO

Tue Dec 1, 2015 16:55:53

US President Barack Obama stressed that U.S. support for its NATO ally's security remained steadfast and said the U.S. was eager to accelerate work on its military-to-military relationship with Turkey to ensure its NATO ally was safe.

Obama met Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan in Paris, where they have been attending an international climate summit, a week after Turkish jets shot down a Russian warplane along the Syrian border.

"The United States supports Turkey's right to defend itself and its airspace and its territory," Obama said. "We discussed how Turkey and Russia can work together to de-escalate tensions and find a diplomatic path to resolve this issue.

""Obama told Erdogan that the ISIS militant group, also known as ISIL, was the entity that all sides needed to pursue, echoing a message he delivered to Russian President Vladimir Putin in Paris on Monday."

"We all have a common enemy, and that is ISIL, and I want to make sure that we focus on that threat," Obama said.

Putin supports Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, while Obama and Erdogan want him to go.

Obama's relationship with Putin is tense but direct. His relationship with Erdogan, whom he referred to by first name, is also not close, though the two men are in contact frequently.

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu called for the opening of communication channels between Turkey and Russia to prevent further incidents like the downing of the warplane.

Putin, who has signed a decree imposing economic sanctions on Turkey over the incident, has said Turkey shot down the jet because it wanted to protect supplies of oil from so-called “Islamic State” militants.

Both Erdogan and Davutoglu have said they do not want an escalation in tensions with Russia, they have also indicated they have no intention of issuing an apology for the downing of the jet, as Moscow has demanded.

In Moscow, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Military ties between Russia and Turkey had failed.

"Military channels existed and were meant to not allow such tragedies. These channels didn't work and not through the fault of the Russian side," he said.

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