WH: Turkey to join coalition against ISIS

Turkey is expected to join a handful of Muslim nations supporting the U.S. fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the White House said Wednesday.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Turkey faced a "complicated situation," but the NATO ally bordering Syria had a mutual interest in defeating ISIS.


"There is a clear interest for Turkey to be involved in this, and we do anticipate that they will be working constructively with the broader international coalition to combat ISIL," Earnest said on MSNBC, using an alternate acronym for the group.

Turkey has been reluctant to join the fight against ISIS, which freed 49 Turkish hostages over the weekend.

Bahrain, Jordan, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia joined in or supported U.S. airstrikes launched in Syria against ISIS earlier this week.

"The actions of those five Muslim nations joining the United States to take the fight to these violent extremists is really powerful," Earnest said.

"The steps that have already been taken by these nations who are working with the international community, with the United States in the lead, is a really clear signal that in some ways this is actions being more powerful than words," he said.

The administration has touted the support of Muslim and Arab nations against ISIS as a diplomatic win after critics initially suggested that few countries would help. Obama said earlier this week that the fight was not America’s alone.

Secretary of State John KerryJohn KerryBiden's climate policies: Adrift in economic and scientific fantasyland The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden expresses optimism on bipartisanship; Cheney ousted Watch live: John Kerry testifies on climate change MORE said on Monday that Turkey has "absolutely pledged to be effective," later adding "the proof will be in the actions" not words. He did not say what Turkey pledged to contribute.

Turkey has NATO's second largest army, behind only the U.S.

President Obama addressed the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday, calling on "the world to join" the fight against ISIS. He said more than 40 nations are already part of the coalition.

"We will use our military might in a campaign of airstrikes to roll back ISIL. We will train and equip forces fighting against these terrorists on the ground. We will work to cut off their financing and to stop the flow of fighters into and out of the region," Obama said.

"Those who have joined ISIL should leave the battlefield while they can. Those who continue to fight for a hateful cause will find they are increasingly alone," he added.