Ruth O'Brien

Professor, Editor, Author – Out of Many, One: Obama & the 3rd American Political Tradition – (content reflects my academic freedom & personal freedom of thought)

“ISIL is the face of evil . . .” Obama & Tayyip Erdogan after Bilateral Meeting

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[Also see how Obama’s remarks embody his notion of of “hell on earth,” civic religion (religious tolerance), and neotribalism in chapters 1 & 5]

Regnum Carya Resort Antalya, Turkey

11:50 A.M. EET

PRESIDENT ERDOGAN:  (As interpreted.)  Distinguished members of the press, we have just completed our meeting with my dear friend, President Barack Obama.

As you know, this G20 Summit is taking place at a very important point in time.  We have all been shocked with the attacks that have taken place in Paris, which led to the deaths of 129 people and to more than 200 people being injured.  We strongly condemn these attacks.  And our summit meeting here is taking place against the backdrop of these developments — important developments taking place around the globe.

We shall, of course, continue to carry on with our discussions at the G20 Summit within the predetermined agenda items.  However, we will make strong emphasis on the importance of having a firm stance against international terrorism, given the situation that has been going on around the world.  So there will be a strong message coming out of this summit on that subject.

We are confronted with a collective terrorism activity around the world.  As you know, terrorism does not recognize any religion, any race, any nation, or any country.  And what we have seen taking place in France, in Paris, as well as in Ankara, and in Antep, and in Suruc, and in Diyarbakir, all show to us that we are confronted with a collective effort that has been engaged in terrorism.  And this terrorist action is not only against the people of France.  It is an action against all of the people of the globe.

We will also have opportunity at this G20 Summit to discuss some other issues, such as climate change, the situation with the refugees, as well as financial and economic developments taking place in the world.  I’ve also had an opportunity to discuss with Barack the fight that we are conducting against Daesh in Syria.  And we had an opportunity to assess the steps that we will continue to take with respect to our efforts within the coalition in this respect.

As model and strategic partners, we will continue to show solidarity with each other with an understanding to work for global peace.

Thank you.

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Well, let me begin by thanking President Erdogan, the people of Turkey, and the people of this beautiful city for their hospitality at the G20.

Traditionally, the G20 has been a forum primarily to discuss important economic issues facing the globe.  But as President Erdogan noted, the skies have been darkened by the horrific attacks that took place in Paris just a day and a half ago.  As was true with the terrible attacks that took place in Ankara, the killing of innocent people based on a twisted ideology is an attack not just on France, not just on Turkey, but it’s an attack on the civilized world.  And as we, I’m sure, each said to President Hollande and the French people, we stand in solidarity with them in hunting down the perpetrators of this crime and bringing them to justice.

Turkey has been a strong partner with the United States and other members of the coalition in going after the activities of ISIL, or Daesh, both in Syria and Iraq.  As a NATO ally, we have worked together to bring about pressure on ISIL, even as we also try to bring about a political transition inside of Syria that can relieve the suffering of so many people and eliminate the environment in which ISIL can operate.

So the discussion we had today I think was very helpful in helping to continue to coordinate the work that we’re doing together to help to fortify the borders between Syria and Turkey that allow Daesh to operate.  We discussed the progress that’s been made in diplomatic talks in Vienna, led by our foreign ministers, and an insistence that we will redouble our efforts, working with other members of the coalition, to bring about a peaceful transition in Syria and to eliminate Daesh as a force that can create so much pain and suffering for people in Paris, in Ankara, and in other parts of the globe.

We also had an opportunity to discuss the burden of refugees that Turkey has been bearing.  And the United States, as the largest provider of humanitarian assistance to displaced persons and refugees, stands shoulder-to-shoulder with Turkey, Europe, and others in trying to help those who need help right now, even as we hope to reduce the flow of migrants because of the situation inside of Syria.

And we still had time to discuss some of the other critical issues like climate change, including development and growth, and other topics that are of great importance to all the G20 countries.  And I want to once again thank President Erdogan for his leadership in what I’m confident will be a very productive and important meeting.”