Turkey talks planned to boost fight against Islamic State


British cooperation with Turkey to defeat Islamic State (IS) is being stepped up in the wake of the attack on Istanbul that killed ten German tourists.

Talks will be held in Ankara to secure closer work on tackling foreign fighters and cutting off funding for the jihadi group, which is also known as Daesh.

Philip Hammond will also discuss the humanitarian crisis in Syria caused by the dual horrors of Bashar Assad's brutal regime and IS during the meeting with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Turkey has been criticised internationally for being slow to react to the rise of IS, and its border has been a key crossing point for militants heading to fight for the extremists.

The Foreign Secretary will visit a refugee camp near the Turkey-Syria border on Friday that benefits from UK-funded food programmes.

He will also head to a civil defence training centre to meet members of the White Helmets, volunteer search and rescue workers operating in opposition-controlled areas of Syria. 

Mr Hammond said: "Turkey, a Nato ally, is a vital friend of the UK and critical partner in tackling Islamist extremism, as we have seen so tragically in Istanbul this week.

"I applaud Turkey's generosity in hosting over 2.5 million Syrian refugees. Britain will be stepping up its cooperation with Turkey in countering the scourge of Daesh and our efforts to deliver vital humanitarian and other support, inside Syria including to besieged towns.

"We will be discussing how we can work even more closely together in tackling the flow of foreign fighters and funding to Daesh; and how we can best support people displaced by the fighting in Syria - including through the London Syria Conference in February."

Turkish officials have said the suicide bomber who carried out the attack in the tourist district of Sultanahmet in Istanbul was affiliated with IS.