US tells Turkey and EU to ‘tone down rhetoric’

US State Department Acting Spokesman Mark Toner

The United States State Department’s Acting Spokesperson Mark Toner called on European and Turkish government representatives to “tone down the rhetoric” in a press conference in Washington D.C. on Thursday.

Answering a journalist’s question on whether he “agrees with the behaviour of the president of Turkey (Recep Tayyip Erdogan) who threatens Europeans every day,” Toner said “I think what we have said about some of the back and forth we’ve seen over the past couple of weeks [is] that we want to see everyone get along and tone down the rhetoric.”

“Look Turkey is an ally obviously, a strong partner certainly with respect to ISIL and a friend. We support turkey’s aspirations to engage with Europe, I am not going to speak about what is an issue between Turkey and Europe and the EU rather, specifically. That’s for them to work out. As much as Turkey wants to pursue that integration with the Euro-Atlantic community on an economic level we encourage that,” added Toner, answering another journalist’s question on whether the Trump administration supported Turkey’s European Union membership.

Another journalist brought up the issue of the participation of a Kurdistan Regional Government representative in the Meeting of the Ministers of the Global Coalition on the Defeat of ISIS held at the State Department and asked whether there was a difference between the Obama and Trump administrations regarding Kurdish participation in the plans to defeat ISIS.

“I am not going to draw comparisons, we’ve been very clear in this administration and the previous administration that we have deep respect towards the role the Kurdish fighters have played in the fight against ISIS. We have great respect for the sacrifices and also great respect about what capable forces they are and the role that they have played so far,” said Toner.