Turkey, US 'still close allies'

Turkey, US 'still close allies'

Sevil Erkuş
Turkey, US still close allies Turkey and U.S. are close allies and the media is not an actor that forms Washington’s policies, Ambassador Ross Wilson has said, citing media reports in his country that have been questioning relations between two countries.  

Wilson, the former U.S. envoy to Turkey who is currently appointed to Ankara as chargé d'affaires, spoke to reporters in the Turkish capital after John Bass, President Barack Obama's nominee as the new U.S. ambassador to Ankara, received vote of confirmation from the U.S. Senate on Sept. 17. 

Wilson, who temporarily returned to Ankara this month, said he would go back to his country after Bass arrives in Turkey.

Asked about recent media reports in the U.S. questioning ties between Ankara and Washington due to Turkey’s reluctance to get involved in military coalition against jihadists in Iraq and Syria, Wilson said both Secretary State John Kerry and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel had expressed the importance of bilateral ties between Turkey and the U.S. during their recent visits to Ankara.

Turkey’s stance regarding the U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) does not change this, the ambassador also said, adding that the U.S. would not comment on the issue till Turkey gets ready for its contribution to the efforts against the ISIL.

Earlier in the day, President Erdoğan had slammed the New York Times for a recent story claiming that Turkey is one of the biggest sources of recruits for ISIL, prompting the U.S. daily to defend its reporting.

Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Yalçın Akdoğan told a group of Ankara newspaper bureau chiefs at a meeting on Sept. 16 that Turkey’s contribution to the international coalition aimed at destroying ISIL would be more substantial if the group was not currently holding 49 Turkish hostages.