President Obama insists it is more important than ever to secure the Turkish borders to prevent Islamic State fighters from entering Syria.
“I have had repeated conversations with President Erdogan about the need to close the border between Turkey and Syria,” Obama said. He argued that there were “gaps” in the border that were being used by ISIS to transport fuel and foreign fighters in to replenish its caliphate.
“We’ve got to choke them off. We have to choke off how they make money. We have to choke off their ability to bring in new fighters,” he said, reminding the press that the United States had already destroyed “tens of thousands” of ISIS fighters.
“If new ones are still coming in, then they continue to maintain a strangle hold over certain population centers in Syria,” he said.
In spite of his criticism, however, Obama praised Turkey for absorbing millions of Syrian refugees into refugee camps and into their own cities.
“Turkey has continued to keep those borders open for people in real need,” he said approvingly.