US delegation in Turkey to demonstrate solidarity
ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily NewsIn the first official visit since elections, a bipartisan delegation of United States Congressmen including Representatives Rob Wittman from the House Armed Services Committee, Ted Poe, and Hank Johnson, are holding talks in Turkey.
“The delegation is interested in deepening and expanding the strong relationship between Turkey and the United States. The Congressmen would like to express solidarity with Turkey as a NATO partner and demonstrate support for the deployment of Patriot systems in Turkey to counter the threat from Syria,” a spokesperson from the U.S. Embassy to Turkey told the Hürriyet Daily News yesterday.
The delegation held talks with members of the foreign affairs and defense committees in Turkish Parliament and met with President Abdullah Gül.
They will visit Ankara, İncirlik Air Base and the city of Gaziantep, where the U.S. Patriots are deployed, as well as the Syrian refugee camp in Kilis, according to the U.S. Embassy official.
“I’m pleased and honored to visit our Turkish allies. The purpose of our trip is to gain a heightened understanding of how Turkey works within NATO, to visit the bases and units key to our alliance, to gain firsthand observations of U.S. European Command and NATO operations and to gain a better understanding of how the situation in Syria is impacting the region along Turkey’s southern border,” Wittman said in a statement ahead of the meetings.
The delegation paid a visit to Israel before they arrived in Turkey and met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.