The commander of a U.S. aircraft carrier strike group conducting missions against Daesh has described to Anadolu Agency the importance of Turkey’s involvement in fighting the terrorist group in Syria and northern Iraq.
Speaking onboard the USS H.W. Bush aircraft carrier on Monday, Rear Admiral Kenneth Whitesell said: “We can’t do this now without Turkey’s cooperation and friendship. You are very important for us to be able to do our mission.”
He described the ties between the two countries as a “very good relationship, a very friendly relationship”.
Whitesell said their role in the Mediterranean was to conduct strike operations on Daesh targets in Syria and northern Iraq as part of Operation Inherent Resolve.
“So that’s what we are doing and we have been doing this for about eight days now and we got a couple more weeks to go before we go into another theater of operations,” he said.
Whitesell said his forces flew about eight to nine sorties a day but are still awaiting information from the Combined Air Operations Center in Al-Udeid Air Base in Qatar on how many targets they had destroyed so far.
The USS George H.W. Bush, with the callsign “Avenger,” can carry 85 aircraft and helicopters, and has about 6,000 crew members.
Admiral Whitesell said the friendship between Turkey and U.S. — both NATO members — was based on mutual trust, adding that they could not carry out Operation Inherent Resolve without Ankara’s help.
“They [Turkey] are in charge of the procedural control of aircraft from the George H.W. Bush going through the northern route, Turkish air traffic control,” Whitesell said.
He added: “Turkey has been very accommodating. We have rules we have to go by before we are allowed to come into Turkey. We have been abiding by those rules.” http://aa.com.tr/en/americas/us-admiral-praises-turkeys-role-in-fighting-daesh/760311