Vice President Joe Biden recently traveled to Turkey where he met with Turkish President Recep Erdogan and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu.
A top agenda item was Turkey’s role in the international coalition to degrade and defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL. Turkey has demonstrated significant leadership in reaching out to and coordinating with the new Iraqi government, including a recent visit by Turkish Prime Minister Davutoğlu to Erbil and Baghdad.
Together, the United States and Turkey are working to curb the flow of foreign fighters to and from the battlefields of Iraq and Syria and to stem their funding streams.
With regard to Syria, the United States and Turkey discussed efforts to deny ISIL a safe haven, strengthen the Syrian opposition, and pursue a negotiated solution to the conflict that ultimately leads to a transitional government without Bashar al-Assad regime. Vice President Biden and President Erdogan also discussed efforts to train and equip moderate Syrian opposition forces.
Turkey, as a consequence of the ongoing conflict in Syria, is carrying a heavy humanitarian burden. Nearly 1.6 million refugees from Syria have poured over Turkey's border. Turkey is providing all manner of humanitarian relief, including housing, healthcare, food, and clothing. The United States has donated more than $3 billion in humanitarian assistance to ease the suffering of those inside Syria and to support refugees in neighboring countries, including $222 million for international humanitarian organizations working with the Government of Turkey.
On Cyprus, the United States remains committed to supporting the United Nations-led effort to reunify the island as a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation. Vice President Biden said, "the potential exists to reach a solution that benefits everyone on the island and in the region. Right now, that requires a focus on de-escalating tensions and returning to the negotiating table in Cyprus."
The United States and Turkey have been allies for 60 years. "Today," said Vice President Biden, "We're working closely together once again to meet the very pressing challenges of this moment, and to further strengthen the strategic partnership between Turkey and America."