US military chief Dempsey due in Ankara for talks

US military chief Dempsey due in Ankara for talks

Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey (L) and Gen. Necdet Özel (C), chief of the Turkish General Staff, listen to the national anthems during an arrival honor cordon at the Pentagon on May 10, 2012. (Photo: AP)

September 11, 2012, Tuesday/ 15:10:00/ TODAY'S ZAMAN

Chairman of the US joint chiefs of staff gen. Martin Dempsey will visit Ankara on Sunday to meet with his Turkish counterpart, Chief of General Staff Gen. Necdet Özel, a news report said on Tuesday.

The visit will be Dempsey's first trip to Turkey since he was appointed to his current position in October 2011. The ongoing violence in Syria is expected to dominate Özel's talks with Dempsey, private broadcaster NTV said.

Dempsey's visit follows a surprise visit by Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director David Petraeus to İstanbul earlier this month, the second unannounced visit by the US spy chief to Turkey in the last six months. He spent two days in Ankara in March, meeting with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Turkish counterpart, National Intelligence Organization (MİT) Undersecretary Hakan Fidan, to discuss the deepening instability in Syria, their joint fight against terrorism and closer cooperation on pressing regional issues.

US officials travel to Turkey for talks on Syria

Meanwhile, two other US officials, Deputy Secretary of State Bill Burns and Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration Anne C. Richard, will also have talks on Syria with Turkish officials during separate visits this week, the US State Department has announced.

Burns will travel to Ankara as part of a regional tour that also includes stops in the Jordanian capital of Amman, the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, and Arbil in Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdish region on Sept. 10-15. He seeks to “engage leaders on our strategic regional priorities,” according to a State Department statement released on Monday. “His visit will provide a strong signal of US commitment to the region and enhance international coordination efforts on Syria,” the statement also said.

Assistant Secretary Richard visits Turkey again Sept. 10-15. Her trip includes stops in İstanbul, Adana and Ankara.

In İstanbul she will consult with the Resettlement Support Center, which processes refugee referrals for resettlement to the United States, according to a separate statement from the State Department. She will also attend a cultural orientation class for refugees who have been accepted for resettlement in the United States.

Richard will be joined by United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Assistant Administrator for Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance Nancy Lindborg during her visit to Adana, where “they will focus on the response to the humanitarian crisis emanating from the escalating violence in Syria.”

Richard and Lindborg will have talks with Turkish officials in Ankara, the last stop of their visit. The talks will focus on “humanitarian issues,” the State Department said.


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