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Turkey Still Considering Its Role in Anti-IS Coalition: US Official

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Turkey is still considering its role in the anti-Islamic State (IS) coalition, including military operations out of the country's territory, the United States' Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter Islamic State said.

WASHINGTON, October 16 (RIA Novosti) - Turkey is still considering its role in the anti-Islamic State (IS) coalition, including military operations out of the country's territory, the United States' Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter Islamic State said.

"They (Turkey) as a frontline state which faces frankly an awful lot of the many lines, or faces participation in many of the lines of efforts, that we've talked about in terms of foreign fighters, disrupting finances and hosting coalition forces and potentially conducting military operations," John Allen said during the press briefing on Wednesday. "They want to understand that, and they are owed that as friend and as a NATO partner," he added.

On Monday, Turkey's foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu stated that Istanbul has not yet made a decision on whether to allow the United States access to its Incirlik air base to carry out attacks against IS. The base, however, is already being used by the US Air Force for logistical and humanitarian purposes.

According to Allen, Turkish authorities want to understand how they will fit into the program and "how ultimately the coalition would operate out of Turkey."

"The point of the planning team being on the ground and the point of our continued political consultation is to answer those questions and to go through a detailed planning process so they understand exactly what it is," Allen concluded.

The IS, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), has been fighting the Syrian government since 2012. In June 2014, the extremist group expanded its attacks to northern and western Iraq and declared an Islamic caliphate on the territories that had fallen under its control.

A US-led coalition is currently carrying out airstrikes on IS targets in Syria and Iraq. The coalition is currently comprised of more than 60 countries, according to the State Department.

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