Biden reaffirms “close alliance” with Turkey

WASHINGTON, March 31 (KUNA) — In the midst of reports about a widening rift between the US and Turkey on the issue of Syrian Kurdish rebels, Vice President Joe Biden said Thursday the two countries maintain “a close alliance.” He reiterated his country’s “unwavering commitment to Turkey’s national security as a NATO Ally,” the White House said in a statement.
Biden, who met privately with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan early in the day, “condemned the recent terrorist attacks” in Ankara and Diyarbakir, and “reiterated that the United States considers the PKK a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization,” according to the statement.
While Erdogan believes the PKK militant group and Syrian Kurdish rebels (YPG) fighting the so-called Islamic State are all terrorists, the US continues to count on the YPG to retake territory in northern Syria. In spite of their differences, “the two leaders pledged to deepen cooperation in the fight against all forms of terrorism,” the statement said.
Biden and Erdogan further discussed ways toward reaching a political solution in Syria, and “expressed their support for the current Cessation of Hostilities,” which went into effect on February 27, it added. The Turkish president is in Washington to participate in the fourth Nuclear Security Summit, which officially convenes proceedings Friday. (end)