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Background Briefing: En Route to Turkey

Below is the State Department transcript for the background briefing of Secretary Kerry’s trip to Turkey.


U.S. contingent in Turkey could be operational by Saturday

Stars and Stripes reports that the U.S. contingent for NATO air defense support being deployed in Turkey could be operational by Saturday. Matt Millham writes, “Most of the U.S. contingent deploying to help defend Turkey from any spillover of Syria’s civil war is already on the ground and could be operational as early as Saturday, American military officials said.” NATO has agreed to send six Patriot batteries and about 1,200 troops for the mission, Active Fence.  Turkey requested NATO air defense support after shelling from Syria, killing several Turkish civilians in October. Read the Stars and Stripes report here.


NATO will defend Turkey over Syria

NATO will defend Turkey, which struck back after mortar rounds fired from Syria landed inside its border, the Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said at a meeting in Prague on Monday.


Gül and Erdoğan congratulate Obama

President Abdullah Gül and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan congratulated President Barack Obama on his election victory. In his congratulatory letter, Gül stressed that ties between Turkey and the U.S. have strengthened and stated, “we are determined to maintain the model partnership and positive nature of our relationship.” Pointing to the regional and global importance of bilateral relations between the two countries, Gül underlined the importance of their partnership for peace, stability, and security in regions such as Central Asia, North Africa, Caucasus, and Central and South Asia.