The US officials emphasized the year 2003 in apparent reference to the Turkish Parliament's refusal to allow US troops to use Turkish territory as a route into Iraq during the war launched in March 2003.
“This is probably the biggest strategic decision between the US and Turkey in the past 15 or 20 years,” a senior administration official was quoted as saying by The New York Times on Thursday at a White House briefing meant to call attention to the developments.
A top US military commander has, meanwhile, expressed confidence in the strength of bilateral relations between the US and Turkey as two NATO allies.
Remarks by Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, came earlier this week during a town hall meeting at the University of Miami.
“Are we in danger of losing Turkey as a NATO ally?” Mullen was asked, according to the transcript of the meeting posted on official website of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
“Specifically, with Turkey -- I mean, I think our relationship with Turkey is absolutely vital. The geography, from my perspective, demands that -- they've been a staunch ally and friend of ours for many, many years,” Mullen said.
“Their membership in NATO is critical, and our relationship with them is very strong, particularly on the mil-to-mil [military-to-military] side,” Mullen, who will be retiring in October, added.