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US, Turkey hold talks over security and cooperation


08-25-2016 12:46 BJT

United States Vice President Joe Biden has met with Turkish officials in Ankara. The meeting on Wednesday focused on security and cooperation.

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden held critical meetings that focused on security and cooperation with both the Turkish Prime Minister and Turkish President during his visit in Turkey.

One of the main topics on the agenda was Turkey's request for the extradition of Fethullah Gulen - a Muslim cleric in self -exile in the United States. Turkey believes this man is the mastermind behind the failed coup attempt that took place on July 15th.

Prior to the meetings, Biden visited the Turkish parliament that was attacked during the coup attempt and examined the damage.

During a joint press conference with the Turkish Prime Minister - Biden emphasized the U.S. remains to be one of Turkey's closest allies and that the U.S. had no prior knowledge of the coup attempt. Regarding the extradition of Gulen - Biden stressed the process would depend on the U.S. justice system.

"We are cooperating with Turkish authorities. Our legal experts are working right now with their Turkish counterparts on the production of and the evaluation of material and evidence that needs to be supplied to an American court to meet the requirements under our law in the extradition treaty, to extradite Gulen," Biden said.

The two leaders also focused on the coordinated operation against the militant group ISIL in northern Syria. Yildirim expressed Turkey's concern of Kurdish groups taking advantage of the clashes.

"Turkey will not accept a new Kurdish formation in the south of our border. We see this as a threat to our national security," Yildirim said.

In show of support - Biden announced the U.S. had made it clear to the Kurdish group, the YPG - they would lose U.S. support if they crossed west of the Euphrates River.

The show of strong solidarity certainly came at a critical time as the two countries continue to cooperate on the fight against ISIL - now with even more force.

This visit by the U.S. is expected to ease some tension that has been created following last month's coup attempt - and though Yildirim expressed gratitude, it will also depend on whether or not the legal process of extraditing Gulen is actually approved and finalized by the U.S.

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