US, Turkey hold largest military drills in seven years

US, Turkey hold largest military drills in seven years

TEHRAN, Aug. 28 (MNA) – Turkey and the US held their largest joint military exercises in at least seven years, a sign of improving ties as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan seeks another meeting with Joe Biden next month, American media reported.

Bloomberg has cited three Turkish officials who spoke on condition of anonymity as arguing that the past week’s drills, along with a visit from a bipartisan Congressional delegation, show both sides seeking to rebuild their longtime alliance.

The American media's report added that Turkey is seeking to arrange a meeting between Erdogan and the US president on the sidelines of the G-20 Summit in New Delhi, following one in Lithuania last month.

Erdogan last month dropped his long-held opposition to Sweden’s NATO membership in a bid to improve ties with the US and buy American-made F-16 fighter jets.

The USS Gerald R. Ford, the world’s largest aircraft carrier, visited the Turkish port city of Antalya last week. Joint naval and combat drills involving Turkish F-16 and US F-18 jets marked the largest joint exercises since bilateral ties hit a low in the aftermath of a failed coup attempt against Erdogan in 2016, Turkish officials said.

Turkey was sanctioned by the US over its acquisition of the Russian S-400 missile-defense system in 2017 and kicked out of Lockheed Martin Corp.’s F-35 stealth jet program, making the F-16 purchase critical to its air force.

Meanwhile, some US senators have called for sanctioning Turkey over its intervention in Cyprus internal affairs. Democratic Senator Robert Menendez, a steadfast and longstanding friend of Cyprus, visited the island last week, threatening Turkey with sanctions if it continues its behavior.


Source: Mehr News