US General Odierno awards Turkish counterpart with Legion of Merit
Tolga Tanış WASHINGTON
Photos: Cory HANCOCKTurkey’s Land Forces Commander Gen. Hulusi Akar was awarded with the Legion of Merit by Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army Gen. Raymond T. Odierno on Jan. 27.
Akar, who visited the United States as an invitee of Odierno, received the medal in the presence of 100 senior military officials during a ceremony at the Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall in Arlington, Virginia.
The Turkish general was deemed worthy of the award for his outstanding contributions to NATO, his successful restructuring of the Turkish army, his facilitation of efficient coordination between the Turkish and U.S. armies, the enhancing of cooperation between the two countries’ special forces, and his stance on the crisis in Syria.
After the half-hour ceremony at the military base in Virginia, Akar visited the Arlington Military Cemetery, placing a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns.
Diplomatic sources told daily Hürriyet that talks between Akar and U.S. officials during his visit, which is organized by the U.S. Army’s intelligence unit G2 and scheduled to end on Jan. 30, will focus on routine military cooperation, mutual training and joint exercises. They added that it would “not be a surprise” if the Syrian issue is debated on the visit.
Akar is also scheduled to meet with James A. Winnefeld, Jr., Vice Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, while in the U.S.
Both Turkey and U.S. will replace their chiefs of staff this year, and both Akar and Odierno are seen as top contenders for the respective posts.