Diplomatic row won’t affect military relations with Turkey: UK commander
British Army Maj. Gen. Felix Gedney, deputy commanding general for strategy and support with Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve, is seen in this file photo while speaking with an Iraqi general. Image Bank / Alamy Stock Photo
An ongoing row between Ankara and Washington will not lead to a change in Turkey’s military relations with the U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), British Army Major General Felix Gedney said Aug. 14.
At a news briefing via teleconference at the Department of Defense, Gedney, who is also deputy commander of Combined Joint Task Force - Operation Inherent Resolve, said Turkey is a very important member of the international coalition, which is comprised of 70 nations.
He was responding to a question on whether the recent spat between the two allies would see a change in the coalition's relations with the Turkish military that would affect such things as the use of Incirlik Air Base in southern Turkey, where American troops are stationed.
"No, we've seen no change in our relationship with our Turkish allies," Turkey's state-run Anadolu Agency quoted Gedney as saying.
Turkey is “a troop-contributing nation to this military coalition and a valuable NATO ally as well as a critical regional ally," he reportedly said.
"There are things going on at the strategic level. But here at the operational level and tactical level, we've seen no change in our professional working relationship," Gedney added.
Turkey and the U.S. are currently experiencing rocky relations after Washington imposed sanctions on Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu and Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gül for not releasing American Pastor Andrew Brunson, who faces terrorism-related charges in Turkey.
U.S. President Donald Trump on Aug. 10 ramped up his attack on Turkey by doubling U.S. tariffs on Turkish aluminum and steel imports to 20 percent and 50 percent, respectively. Turkey responded on Aug. 15 with counter-measures.