US Defense Secretary visits Ankara amid Mosul offensive

World Today

U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter paid an official visit to Turkey on Friday, vowing the U.S. would stand side-by-side with its NATO ally.

The trip to Ankara comes at a critical time as the Mosul offensive is underway. And while relations between Iraq and Turkey are strained, Carter reported the two countries have found common ground.

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US Defense Secretary visits Ankara amid Mosul offensive

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Turkey and Iraq have been at odds over the presence of Turkish troops in Bashiqa camp but also on whether Turkey should take an active role in the effort to defeat extremists in the Iraqi city.

Turkey not only believes it has the right to participate in the Mosul offensive, but also that Turkish military deployment in northern Iraq is necessary for Turkey’s security.

The dispute has left the U.S. in a difficult position, but many believe the timing of Carter’s visit is significant.

The talks were productive as it was announced Turkey and Iraq reached an agreement in principle on Turkey’s involvement in Mosul – but practical terms are yet to be hammered out.

Carter also visited the Turkish parliament which was attacked during the coup attempt in July, and he emphasized how valuable Turkey is to the U.S.