US Military Chief Mullen due in Turkey today for landmark visit
Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff and President Barack Obama's top military advisor, today will begin a landmark visit to Turkey. "The purpose is to make a courtesy visit to Turkish Chief of General Staff Gen. Isik Kosaner," who assumed the post just this week, said US Embassy spokesperson Deborah Guido. "We haven't set any agenda items. They will talk about issues in the region," Guido said. The visit comes just days after US political and military leaders marked the official end of combat operations in neighboring Iraq. Ankara recently said negotiations with Washington are continuing over the possible use of Turkish soil to transfer remaining US troops, arms and equipment out of Iraq. Mullen's visit also comes amid concern that the US Congress could derail arms sales to Turkey due to the problems in Turkish-Israeli ties. Reported US plans to establish a radar ground station in Turkey as part of a partial missile shield over southern Europe against a perceived threat from Iran's missiles may also be at risk. Some recent media reports claimed that Washington may no longer be considering Turkey as a venue due to its voting at the United Nations Security Council against new sanctions on Iran.