WASHINGTON, Dec. 15, 2016 —
Defense Secretary Ash Carter met with Turkish Defense Minister Fikri Işik today in London on the sidelines of a meeting of defense ministers whose countries are participating in the campaign to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook said in a statement following the meeting.
Carter is on a round-the-world trip that has included stops in Japan, India, Afghanistan, Iraq and Italy.
The secretary thanked Işik for his participation in the ministerial and for Turkey's significant contributions to the counter-ISIL campaign, Cook said, especially Operation Euphrates Shield -- the Turkish military intervention in Syria -- and its efforts to close its borders to ISIL.
Both leaders reaffirmed their unyielding resolve to deal ISIL a lasting defeat and discussed a range of practical cooperative efforts that will accelerate the fight, the press secretary said.
Carter also strongly condemned the attack on Turkish police and citizens Dec. 10 by a militant offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party and offered condolences on behalf of the Defense Department, Cook said. The twin suicide bombings outside a soccer stadium in Istanbul left 44 dead -- mostly police officers -- and more than 150 injured.
The defense secretary vowed the United States will continue to stand with Turkey to combat PKK, ISIL and terrorism in all its forms, the press secretary said.
Carter and Işik agreed on the need for the two NATO allies to continue their full range of bilateral defense activities and to look for ways to further strengthen defense cooperation in the future, Cook said.