US air force commander in Ankara for Syria talks
Uğur ERGAN - ANKARAChief of Staff of the United States Air Force Gen. David L. Goldfein held talks in Ankara with his Turkish counterparts in an unannounced visit, sources told daily Hürriyet on July 12.
Goldfein met with Commander of the Turkish Air Force Abidin Ünal and other senior military officials in order to discuss ongoing military cooperation in Syria as part of international efforts to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
The visit comes as Turkey’s criticisms of the U.S. intensify due to the latter’s decision to ally with the People’s Protection Units (YPG), the Syrian offshoot of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
Ankara has long slammed arms supplies from the U.S. to the YPG, which it says could use these weapons against Turkish citizens in the future. U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson held talks with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu over the weekend in a bid to rebuild trust between the two NATO allies.
Goldfein’s visit comes as ideas to establish no-fly zones over some parts of Syrian airspace in a bid to strengthen a fragile ceasefire between the Syrian regime and opposition groups. The issue was discussed at a meeting between US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin last weekend on the margins of the G-20 Summit in Hamburg.