Top US general holds security talks in Ankara

Top US general holds security talks in Ankara

ANKARA-Hürriyet Daily News
Top US general holds security talks in Ankara

US Cmdr James Mattis meets with Gen Özel.

Turkey hosted a top U.S. commander in Ankara yesterday a day after Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu held important meetings in Washington on Syria.

The commander of the U.S. Central Command, Gen. James N. Mattis, visited Chief of General Staff Gen. Necdet Özel at the military headquarters, the military said in a written statement.

The statement did not elaborate on the topic of the meeting between the two commanders. The meeting came at a moment when the Middle East is passing through a difficult moment with increasing speculation that foreign powers could stage military interventions against Iran and Syria.

However, Turkey’s President Abdullah Gül reiterated Turkey’s position, rejecting a foreign intervention into Syria.

Turkey believes regional actors should deal with Syrian crises, Gül said.

“In a close cooperation with Arab League, we believe that the region should take care of the issue rather than [see] a foreign intervention,” Gül said during a joint press conference yesterday with his Czech counterpart, Vaclav Klaus.

Change in Syria is inevitable, the president said, adding that there was no more room for closed, one-party regimes.

“If [Syrian President Bashar] al-Assad loves his country and his people, he must hold elections in a transition term and open the way for Syria before the Syrian people become more hostile to each other,” he said.

James Mattis, US, Ankara