Mullen: Intelligence sharing with Turkey will continue

January 29, 2009, Thursday/ 17:35:00
The United States will continue to share intelligence with Turkey against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, has said.

During a Foreign Press Center briefing titled "US National Security Strategy Update" on Tuesday afternoon, Adm. Mullen responded to a question regarding cooperation between Turkey and the US against the PKK and whether or not it will continue under the new US administration:

"My relationship with [Turkish Chief of General Staff] Gen. [İlker] Başbuğ and the military-to-military relationship with Turkey has been one that we cherish for many, many decades. And certainly it's been one that we worked very hard on recently, and one that I feel very positive about. And in particular, that focus on intelligence sharing with respect to what we've done with Turkey in the last -- over the better part of the last year -- has been very important. And I see no indication that that won't continue."

The two countries agreed to share intelligence on the PKK after US President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan met in Washington in early November 2007.

Responding to another question related to US President Barack Obama's plans to withdraw American troops from Iraq and whether or not it is realistic from a military point of view, Adm. Mullen said he has discussed a range of options with the US president and the risks associated with each option.

"We have plans for a full range of options, to include 16 months. And then it is really in the understanding of that that I think the president gets to make his decision be -- I want to be as -- I'll try to be as clear as I can with risk associated with whatever option we've talked about, and then he makes his decision and we carry it out."

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