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Head of CIA meets with officials in Turkey

February 10, 2017 at 3:16 pm

Image of CIA chief Mike Pompeo leaving his hotel in Turkey on 10th February 2017 [Binnur Ege Gürün/Anadolu]

Officers from the CIA met with high-ranking Turkish officials yesterday, leaving Ankara hoping for stronger ties with the US under the new Trump administration.

On his first official trip as CIA Director, Mike Pompeo arrived in Turkey yesterday in a bid to strengthen relations between the two countries. This comes after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke on the phone with US President Donald Trump on Tuesday and agreed on aspiring to achieving “productive” relations.

Read: Airstrikes that killed Turks due to intel provided by Turkey

Counteracting the Gulenist movement

According to internal sources, when Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim met with Pompeo earlier today, he restated Turkey’s request for the extradition of Pennsylvania-based Fetullah Gulen.

Yildirim asked for more cooperation from Pompeo to deal with the Gulenist movement in the US, the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on talking to the media, said.

Pompeo met Erdogan at the presidential complex yesterday, according to a presidency source. Hakan Fidan, the head of Turkey’s National Intelligence Organisation (MIT), attended the meeting. Pompeo also visited the MIT office.

Ankara has on several occasions asked Washington to extradite Gulen for his role in establishing a quasi-state within Turkey that led a defeated coup on 15 July 2016.

Read: Turkey to extend anti-piracy naval mission in Gulf of Aden for additional year

Washington’s support for Kurdish militias

The US’ support for the Kurdish Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) forces was also discussed during the trip. To Ankara’s dismay, Washington has been using the Syrian Kurdish YPG forces in its fight against Daesh under the Obama administration. Turkey views the YPG as an extension of the outlawed PKK. On Wednesday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu suggested that the US works directly with Turkey and Saudi Arabia to combat terrorism and to defeat Daesh as an alternative to forming strategic alliances with militias on the ground.