US admiral in Turkey to discuss closer cooperation in anti-PKK fight
ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
US Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral James A. Winnefeld Jr. EPA photo
A top U.S. admiral is visiting Turkey today amid increasing military cooperation between Washington and Ankara on the fight against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and mounting tension on the Turkish-Syrian border to Syria’s crisis.
Adm. James Winnefeld, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is in Turkey as part of a previously scheduled counterpart visit with Deputy Chief of the Turkish General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar, an official from the U.S Embassy to Turkey said.
“Admiral Winnefeld will participate in a series of discussions on military-to-military cooperation and mutual defense issues impacting both Turkey and the United States,” U.S. embassy spokesman in Ankara, T.J. Grubisha, told the Hürriyet Daily News today.
The fight against the PKK will top the agenda of the talks, while the Syrian crisis will also be discussed, a Turkish official told Daily News prior to the talks with the U.S. admiral. The Turkish side is also set to brief Winnefeld about problems related to intelligence-sharing between the U.S. and Turkey, the official said.
Francis Ricciardone, the U.S. ambassador to Ankara, told the Turkish media last week that a U.S. official would visit Turkey in the upcoming days to discuss cooperation between the two countries on the issue of fight against the PKK.
Ricciardone expressed his disappointment with frequent references to Washington’s unwillingness in the fight against the PKK and said he felt sorry and angered by such suspicions. “This makes our enemy successful in placing suspicion between allies. This might give hope to our enemies,” he said.
Providing information on the state of intelligence-sharing, the ambassador said they were only providing Turkey with intelligence that is only analyzed by Ankara. “It’s Turkey which decides how to use the intelligence.”
Ricciardone also said Washington had suggested that Turkey implement “tactics, techniques and procedures” (TTP), a multidisciplinary military maneuver that paved the way for the killing of Osama bin Laden, the architect of the Sept. 11 terrorist attack.