Ankara, Aug 25 () - The Turkish and U.S. militaries have finalized technical talks on operations against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and have inked a deal on the issue, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said at a press meeting in Ankara on Aug. 25.
“The U.S and Turkish military authorities have signed the [agreement]” Çavuşoğlu said.
His remarks were aimed at eliminating an apparent disharmony between his earlier statements and subsequent remarks by a White House official.
Hours before Çavuşoğlu’s statement, White House Spokesman Josh Earnest denied that Turkey and the U.S. had reached an agreement.
Upon a question during his daily press briefing on Aug. 24, Earnest said negotiations were continuing but there was no deal yet.
Çavuşoğlu subsequently stated that information about signatures on the agreement might have reached Washington late due to the time difference.
Military officials from the U.S. and Turkey will decide on when the joint operations against ISIL will start, he added.
U.S. jets have already launched strikes against the jihadist group from Turkey’s İncirlik air base, close to the country’s border with Syria, but the Turkish operations were delayed upon a U.S. request to spare time for developing further coordination.