Turkey’s role in the coalition against the Islamic State (IS) has begun to take shape following talks in Ankara between Turkish leaders and US President Barack Obama’s special envoy John Allen and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Brett McGurk. Simultaneous meetings were held in Washington between US officials and Turkish intelligence chief Hakan Fidan. Officials reached an agreement on training “moderate” Syrian rebels, while negotiations continue on the use of Turkish airbases.
Surprisingly, the deal on the “train-and-equip” program was made public by Washington, not Ankara. State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf said Oct. 9, “Turkey has agreed to support train-and-equip efforts for the moderate Syrian opposition.” While confirming the training deal, Ankara sounded circumspect on the possible use of the Incirlik air base.