US, Turkey ‘in close touch’ in Syria, diplomat says
The Unites States and Turkey are "in close touch" regarding military intentions in Syria, a top U.S. diplomat said late Friday.
The main focus in the war-torn country "continues to be defeating Daesh and ensuring that it does not pose a threat any longer to the United States, to Turkey, to Europe, or to other parts of the world," U.S. Ambassador to Turkey John Bass told reporters after he delivered a speech at an Independence Day reception in the Turkish capital.
"We continue to believe strongly that Turkey has a right to defend itself. And we do not support the use by any organization of Syrian territory to launch or plan attacks against Turkey," he said.
Bass said there has been "strong daily contact, communication and cooperation" between the U.S and Turkey, and the other nations in the ant-Dash coalition-a process he expects to continue
He warned, however, that as the situation on the ground evolves, it is "important for all of the members of the coalition to continue to put the focus on eliminating Daesh's last strongholds.
"Now obviously as the campaign continues, and the territory that Daesh holds get smaller, there is greater opportunity for miscalculation by the many different military forces that are operating there," he said.
Bass' remarks come one week before Turkey marks one year since a deadly coup attempt was beat back by government forces with the support of Turks who demonstrated in the streets against the overthrow plot.
He said the U.S. supports the government's efforts to bring to justice those responsible because it was the "right" thing to do.
"And that is clearly a desire of everyone in this society to see those who committed these crimes to suffer the consequences and to face the appropriate penalties from the judiciary," he said.
Turkey accuses the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) and its leader, Fetullah Gulen, of having staged the coup attempt as well as being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police and judiciary.
Since the foiled coup, operations have been ongoing in the military, police and judiciary, as well as in other state institutions to arrest suspects with links to FETO.