Turkish, Iraqi, US top soldiers to meet in Ankara this week
Top soldiers from Turkey, the United States and Iraq will come together in Turkey on Dec. 14 to discuss regional security matters at a three-way meeting, the Turkish army announced late Dec. 11.
U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) Commander Gen. Joseph Votel, Commander of U.S. Forces in Europe Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti and Iraqi Chief of General Staff Gen. Osman Ghanimi will be present at the meeting that will be hosted by Turkey’s Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar.
The meeting was announced by the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) through a written statement, which did not give details other than that the three countries’ military leaders would review regional developments and security issues.
The meeting comes days after Iraq announced victory in its fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
One aspect of the meeting is likely to be focused on joint efforts to avoid resurgence of jihadist terror movements in the post-ISIL process. It is expected that Turkey’s focus will be on concentrating on efforts to eliminate the presence of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in Iraqi territories, namely in northern Iraq and the Sinjar province.
It is also anticipated that Gen. Akar will discuss an ongoing row between Ankara and Washington over the latter’s promises to stop weapon delivery to the People’s Protection Units (YPG) in Syria and to take back heavy weapons already at the hands of this group.
Turkey considers the YPG as the PKK’s Syrian leg, while the U.S. sees it as an efficient local ground force against ISIL in Syria.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this report stated that two senior U.S. commanders would come to the Turkish capital to hold a high-level military dialogue meeting on Dec. 11. However, the meeting could not take place due to a program change, daily Hürriyet reported on Dec. 12.