US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta will visit Turkey later this week for talks that are expected to focus on enhancing defense cooperation and the ongoing fight against terrorism, according to diplomatic sources.
Panetta’s visit comes just two weeks before the end of the year, by which time a US radar system will be installed in eastern Turkey as part of NATO’s missile shield project, officials have said.
The radar, which has prompted Iranian reactions against Turkey, will also be on Panetta’s agenda, according to sources.
“The fight against the PKK [outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party] will be a priority on the agenda for talks with Panetta,” a diplomatic source told the Hürriyet Daily News yesterday.
The source said the Dec. 15-16 meetings would also touch on a $111m deal between Ankara and Washington for US drones that would be transferred from Iraq to Turkey to provide surveillance support in the fight against the PKK, as well as three AH-1 Super Cobra helicopters that the Pentagon will sell to Turkey.
Hurriyet Daily News