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Hagel Discusses ISIL Threat With Turkish Defense Minister

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WASHINGTON, October 12, 2014 — Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel spoke today with Turkish Defense Minister Ismet Yilmaz in a phone call that focused on the regional threat posed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and the security situation in both Iraq and Syria, Pentagon Press Secretary Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby said.

“Secretary Hagel thanked Minister Yilmaz for Turkey's willingness to contribute to coalition efforts, to include hosting and conducting training for Syrian opposition members,” Kirby said in a statement summarizing the call. “He noted Turkey's expertise in this area and the responsible manner in which Turkey is handling the other challenges this struggle has placed upon the country, in terms of refugees and border security.”

Joint Central Command-European Command training team

The secretary also expressed his gratitude for Turkey's willingness to host a joint U.S. Central Command-European Command planning team next week, Kirby added, as the U.S. military works closely with Turkey to further develop a training regimen.

“Both leaders stressed the need to continue taking a comprehensive, strategic approach to the threat posed by ISIL and other extremist groups,” the admiral said. “Both men also agreed that the Assad regime has, through its own brutality, fostered the current crisis and has long ago surrendered any legitimacy to govern in Syria.”

Hagel and Yilmaz agreed to continue close, sustained consultations, Kirby said.