The specter of the IS threat and Syria’s civil war hanged over the Turkish seaside city of Antalya as Mr. Obama and other leaders descended for the G20 summit
President Barack Obama pledged on Sunday to redouble U.S. efforts eliminate the Islamic State and end the Syrian civil war that has fuelled its rise, denouncing the extremist group’s horrifying terror spree in Paris as “an attack on the civilized world.”
Opening two days of talks with world leaders in Turkey, Mr. Obama pledging U.S. solidarity with France in the effort to hunt down the perpetrators and bring them to justice. He said “the skies have been darkened” by the horrifying terror spree, but offered no details about what the U.S. or its coalition partners might do to step up its assault against the extremist group.
“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,” Mr. Obama said after meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. In addition to the Paris attacks, IS is blamed for two bombings in Turkey this year that killed about 130 people.
The specter of the Islamic State threat and Syria’s civil war hanged over the Turkish seaside city of Antalya as Mr. Obama and other leaders descended for the Group of 20 summit of leading rich and developing nations. Although the overlapping crises were already on the line up for the two days of talks, they were thrust to the forefront by elaborately coordinated attacks that killed 129 in the French capital just two days earlier, in the most destructive attack in the West blamed on the extremist group.
World leaders gathering for the G20 are looking to answer a critical question- Beyond tough talk, how will the world respond to bloodshed now extending far beyond the Islamic State group’s foothold in the Middle East? Leaders in Europe, the U.S. and beyond have pledged to step up the response, with French President Francois Hollande vowing a “merciless” war on the Islamic State.
Yet despite plenty of tough talk, there were few signs of an emerging consensus about exactly what that means. Asked by reporters whether he would consider additional action against IS following the Paris attacks, Mr. Obama declined to tip his hand.
Mr. Obama’s meeting with Erdogan came at the start of a 9-day trip to Turkey, the Philippines and Malaysia that has already been largely overshadowed by Friday’s attacks in Paris and the related issues of Syria’s civil war and the resulting migrant crisis. Mr. Obama said the U.S. stands with Turkey and Europe in the effort to reduce the flow of migrants, and Mr. Erdogan predicted a “strong message” on fighting terrorism would result from the summit.