A planned meeting in June between the American and Turkish presidents is a “good sign” towards resolving disagreements, the head of US Central Command (CENTCOM) said Tuesday.
Speaking at a virtual gathering of the think tank the American Enterprise Institute, Gen. Kenneth McKenzie called Turkey “a longstanding” and “valued NATO partner,” saying the US has an Article 5 relationship with Turkey with NATO.
The article states that any armed attack against one member of the NATO alliance is an attack against them all.
His remarks came in response to a question on whether the increase in Turkey’s military capability, especially in the drone area, would shake up the regional dynamics.
The commander said Turkey has legitimate national security concerns associated with its borders with Syria and Iraq and the US also recognizes that.
“So, you know what we try to do with Turkey is we maximize the areas where we can find agreement,” said the US commander.
“You can still be friends, even if you disagree. There are some areas that we disagree on. So I think a good sign is the fact that the two presidents are going to talk at the NATO summit, I think coming up in the next month or so, and I think that’s a positive step forward,” said McKenzie.
The meeting between Joe Biden and Recep Tayyip Erdogan will take place on the sidelines of the June 14 NATO leaders summit in Brussels, Belgium and will be used “to discuss the full range of bilateral and regional issues,” according to the White House.
*Servet Gunerigok contributed to this story