France questions if Turkey a ‘viable’ partner in Islamic State group fight



France’s foreign minister said on Sunday that questions needed to be asked about whether Turkey is a viable partner in the fight against Islamic State (IS) group in Syria.

“There are questions that are being asked and we will ask them. It (Turkey) is partly viable, but there are suspicions as well. Let’s be honest about this,” Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault told France 3 television.

He said he would raise the issue at meeting of the anti-Islamic State (IS) groupcoalition in Washington next week.

A French official later sought to clarify Ayrault’s comments, saying he had not meant to call into question NATO member Turkey’s viability in the US-led coalition’s fight against the IS group, and that Ankara remained a crucial partner.

Anti-IS group strikes resume

Ayrault’s comments came as the US Department of Defence announced that air strikes had resumed from the critically located Incirlik air base in south-eastern Turkey. The air base was closed temporarily during the coup attempt in the country on Friday.

“As a result, counter-ISIL coalition air operations at all air bases in Turkey have resumed,” Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said in a statement, using an acronym for the IS group.

“US facilities at Incirlik are still operating on internal power sources, but we hope to restore commercial power soon. Base operations have not been affected.”

The Turkish military has recently ramped up its own operations against the jihadist group, which controls swaths of territory along its border.