Fw: VPOTUS pool report #1

From: Lee, Carol
Sent: Saturday, January 23, 2016 3:11 PM
To: Goodman, Meghan K. EOP/OVP
Subject: VPOTUS pool report #1

Vice President Biden’s motorcade left the Conrad at 11:11am. Mr. Biden arrived a few minutes later at Dolmabahce Palace for back-to-back meetings with Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Mr. Biden and Mr. Davutoglu met for more than 2.5 hours. Each of them spoke afterwards, around 2pm. They are now having a working lunch.

Mr. Davutoglu spoke first. Some his remarks, as interpreted:

He called Mr. Biden a “very dear friend.” “We are delighted to be hosting him today.”

He said US-Turkey relations have always been based on a shared vision. “At critical times this relationship has always proven very important,” he said. “We believe we have many shared common points and many shared interests.” They have very wide and deep economic and political ties.

He said Mr. Biden is visiting at a “very critical time” given what’s happening in Ukraine and Syria. He said they discussed both issues at length, although he really only focused on Syria in his remarks.

“We are going through times of transformation in the vicinity of Turkey, and it’s very important” that Turkey and US have the same vision.

He thanked Mr. Biden for visiting the site of the attack in Istanbul earlier this month and for the US’s spirit of solidarity.

He said they discussed having “a united front against terrorism.”
Citing ISIS, PKK and Jabhat al-Nusra, he said, “We believe we should be acting against all these terrorist organizations in harmony. … We are on the same page regarding this as well.”

On Iraq, he said Mr. Biden is very experienced and knowledgeable. He said they went through several different maps when talking about the issue.

He cited Turkey’s enemies as: the Assad regime, ISIS and other terrorist organizations “and certainly YPG” because YPG similarly in the areas it controls has slaughtered Arabs and Turks.
These terrorist organizations are “a threat to all of us,” he said. “And we are committed to doing whatever it takes” to eradicate them.

Political transformation process in Syria:
He said “there should only be the legitimate Syrian opposition” represented in the talks. And in places like maldaya we should be extending humanitarian assistance.

“Turkey’s vision is that all daesh forces on our borders must be eradicated. And in the last couple months there has been a struggle…Russian airstrikes should not impeded this struggle.”

He said Turkey does not want to see PKK, Daesh or Assad forces along our border.

“We believe that YPG is a part of the PKK, and it receives open support from the PKK. Talked about sensitivity of the border –cities are divided in two in the current state of affairs – and said every terrorist into Turkey we believe is a hostile step.

He said he and Mr. Biden “decided to continue our struggle against all sources of terrorists”

Training camp in Iraq:
There are PKK forces, and Turkey needs to be in the struggle.
Training camp was established to liberate Mosul and “the Iraqi government misinterpreted this,” which he said is “disheartening.”
“Turkey’s presence there does not threaten Iraq’s territorial integrity,” he said. Turkey’s purpose is to abolish ISIS.

Peace process with PKK:
He said the 2013 peace process broke down because of PKK. Turkey’s position is no armed forces in Turkey except armed “legitimate” forces.
“No ally, no friendly nation should expect us to sort of tolerate any armed forces other than the legitimate armed forces,” he said.
He said he told Mr. Biden “in unequivocal fashion” that if al Qaeda was in different states in the US, Turkey’s position would be clear and solidly with the US, and the PKK is the same so Turkey expects the same from the US.

On Mr. Biden’s talks yesterday with Kurds:
He said Turkey believes it is “natural” for allies to talk to everyone, but we want our allies and our friends to see the picture at large, not a segment only.

“It’s been a very amicable gathering, a very sincere meeting between the two of us,” he said.

He then stressed once again that “PKK is a terrorist organization and “YPG is affiliated” with the PKK, therefore it is no different. “Until they leave Turkey this struggle will continue,” he said.

Mr. Biden spoke next, for about 13 minutes.
He said how much he likes the view from the palace. He said he and the prime minister have a “close personal relationship.” “I trust you, we trust one another,” he said.
He thanked the prime minister for “the precision of the discussion.”
Said they took out maps and were going over them during the meeting

“We want to make sure, because it’s such an important relationship – Turkey and the United States –that there’s no misunderstanding” Where we agree we have precision and where we disagree we are candid.

On strategic questions there is no disagreement, Mr. Biden said.

He said they agree that ISIS, PKK and Nusra are terrorist groups.

Mr. Biden joked that his wife and granddaughter now finally think he’s important because he was able to show them the blue mosque yesterday.

On placing a carnation at the site of the Istanbul attack earlier this month, Mr. Biden said Americans don’t understand how many Turkish citizens have been a victim of terrorism.

“We are determined collectively and together to wipe out these terrorist organizations,” Mr. Biden said.

He said their meeting ran overtime (was originally scheduled for 45 minutes) because “we were talking about our shared mission of the extermination of ISIL.”

“We do believe that our plans together have matured, they’ve gotten more coordinated and we are increasingly making progress, and I am confident that that progress will be sped up as a consequence of our meeting today and our continued collaboration.”

ISIS “clear and present danger” to the world and Europe, and particularly to Turkey… “Turkey has taken some very important steps …. to improve the security of its border.”

“Today we agreed to do even more,” he said. Mr. Biden said they discussed how the two countries can improve support of local Sunni Arab forces, working to cut off the remaining 60 miles of Turkish border.

The goal, he said, is that the border, now and after we defeat ISIL, is within Turkey’s control, that there’s no separate state sitting on Turkey’s border.

He said they need to work toward political resolution in Syria, “We are neither optimistic nor pessimistic, we are determined” to reach a resolution. Mentioned Secretary Kerry in Saudi Arabia working on the issue.

“We do know that it would be better if we can reach a political solution but we are prepared – we are prepared if that’s not possible to have a military solution to this operation and to taking out daesh,” Mr. Biden said.

ISIS is not the only threat to Turkey, he said, the PKK “is a terrorist group plain and simple” and what they continue to do is outrageous. Turkey has tried for peace with the PKK “and they have not” so Turkey has been left with no option. Turkey does not give up “but in the meantime you must do what you need to protect your people.”

Iraq:
He said they talked about the training camp, and he hopes to work out an agreement between Ankara and Baghdad that involves a joint and coordinated effort to defeat ISIL and take back Mosul.

Mr. Biden said he is not authorized but “self-appointed to see if he can work something out between Turkey and Iraq’s prime ministers so “we’re all on the same page.”

He said they would also talk about Cyprus during their working lunch. He said he appreciates the prime minister’s commitment to end deadlock on the issue, said they’re “moving toward a negotiated agreement” and maybe it’ll happen. He said Turkey is playing a critical role in advancing a “just and lasting settlement”

He also said Turkey has opportunity play an historic and critical role as a linchpin for energy transit connecting Azerbaijan, Israel to Iraq to Europe. “We are prepared to work with and give any assistance we can.

“I believe we genuinely made progress on important issues,” he said.

“Turkey is a strategic partner.” The success of turkey economically and politically and physically is overwhelmingly in the interests of the United States of America.

Prime minister then said they would discuss Cyprus in greater detail at lunch and that Mr. Biden’s role has been critical in the process toward “a lasting resolution.”

Delegations and background on the palace, per the VP’s office:

Prime Minister
1-      Mevlut Cavusoglu, Minister of Foreign Affairs
2-      Ali Sarikaya, Istanbul MP, Councilor of PM
3-      Ferudun Sinirlioglu, Advisor ,Foreign Affairs
4-      Hakan Fidan, MIT( National Intelligence Agency) Chief

Working Lunch:
Prime Minister
1-      Mevlut Cavusoglu, Minister of Foreign Affairs
2-      Ali Sarikaya, Istanbul MP, Councelor of PM
3-      Ferudun Sinirlioglu, Advisor ,Foreign Affairs
4-      Hakan Fidan, MIT( National Intelligence Agency) Chief
5-      Sati Bahadir Kose, Turkish General Staff Chief of Operational Division
6-      Ahmet Muhtar Gun, Ambassador, Deputy Undersecretary, Foreign Affairs
7-      Umit Yalcin, Ambassador, Deputy Undersecretary, Foreign Affairs
8-      Kemal Okem, Prime Ministery and Foreign Affairs Principal Advisor
9-      Osman Sert, Prime Ministery  Press Agency  Principal Advisor

T.H. Joseph R. BIDEN, Jr., Vice President of the United States
1.      T.H. John BASS, U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Turkey
2.      T.H. Victoria NULAND, Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs
3.      T.H. Colin KAHL, National Security Advisor for the Vice President
4.      T.H. Brett MCGURK, Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL
Ms. Ol?cay RACHED, Interpreter

Working Lunch
T.H. Joseph R. BIDEN, Jr., Vice President of the United States
1.      T.H. John BASS, U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Turkey
2.      T.H. Victoria NULAND, Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs
3.      T.H. Colin KAHL, National Security Advisor for the Vice President
4.      Ms.  Anna MAKANJU, Special Advisor for Europe and Russia
5.      Ms.  Caitlin BAKER, Special Advisor for the Middle East and Africa
6.      T.H. Charlie KUPCHAN, National Security Council Director for Europe
7.      Mr. Mark SCHAPIRO, National Security Council Director for Turkey, Cyprus, and Greece
8.      T.H. Brett MCGURK, Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL
9.      T.H.  Amos HOCHSTEIN, Special Envoy and Coordinator for International Energy Affairs
10.  T.H. Kate BEDINGFIELD, Director of Communications

Dolmabahçe Palace (Turkish: Dolmabahçe Sarayi, ?located in the Besiktas district of Istanbul, Turkey, on the European coastline of the Bosphorus strait, served as the main administrative center of the Ottoman Empire from 1856 to 1922, apart from a 22-year interval (1887–1909) in which Yildiz Palace was

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Carol Lee
The Wall Street Journal
xxx-xxx-xxxx
xxx@email.com
@carolelee

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