US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and Syrian “opposition activists” as she arrived Saturday in Istanbul.
In a joint press conference with Davutoglu, Clinton said: “Fresh sanctions slapped by the United States are meant to expose and disrupt links between Iran, Hezbollah and Syria.”
She said the "number one goal" of Washington and Ankara was to hasten the end of Bashar al-Assad's regime in Damascus and stop the “bloodshed”, while warning that Syria must not become a haven for Kurdish rebels battling Turkey.
"We are continuing to increase pressure from outside," Clinton said. "Yesterday in Washington we announced sanctions designed to expose and disrupt the links between Iran, Hezbollah and Syria that prolong the life of the Assad regime."
"We need to take joint efforts to prevent a power vacuum from being formed" which could be exploited by the PKK, Davutoglu said.
Clinton will also meet President Abdullah Gul, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Clinton flew in from Benin after wrapping up an 11-day, nine-nation Africa tour.