The IDF Chief of the General Staff, Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi is to return within the hour from a short and official work visit in Turkey, as the guest of his colleague, the Commander of The Turkish Armed Forces, General Ilker Basbug.
During the visit, the Chief of the General Staff met with the Turkish Minister of Defense, Mr. Vecdi Gonul and with his host, the Commander of the Turkish Armed Forces.
Lt. Gen. Ashkenazi placed a flower bouquet in the mausoleum honoring Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, known as the “Father of the Turkish Nation” and founder of the Republic of Turkey. The IDF Chief of the General Staff was welcomed by a Turkish military honor guard upon arrival.
In the beginning of the visit, Lt. Gen. Ashkenazi participated in an international conference organized by the Turkish military and NATO about terrorism and international cooperation. He also listened to a speech delivered by the Commander of the Turkish Armed Forces about various issues in combating terror.
Many Chiefs of Staff from around the region and the globe were present at the conference along with senior NATO commanders, ambassadors, attaches, media personnel and academics.
During their talks, the IDF Chief of the General Staff and his host discussed strengthening security cooperation between Israel and Turkey. Lt. Gen. Ashkenazi also updated his counterpart on lessons learnt within the IDF during Operation Cast Lead and during the Second Lebanon War.
At a reception earlier this evening, the IDF Chief of the General Staff met with various Chiefs of Staff and senior commanders from the Turkish Armed Forces including the Deputy Chief of the Turkish Armed Forces, the Turkish Chief of Intelligence, the Turkish Air Force Commander and others.
Towards the end of his visit, the Chief of the General Staff said: “This was an important meeting and there is no need to emphasize Turkey’s strategic significance and centrality, for many and diverse reasons. We have an interest to strengthen the ties with Turkey and I have noticed a similar Turkish desire. The cooperation between us will continue.”