- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 12, 2019

The State Department’s top counterterrorism official is heading to Turkey to discuss future U.S cooperation with Ankara, days after the Pentagon threatened to cut the NATO ally out of a key weapons program.

State Department Coordinator for Counterterrorism Amb. Nathan Sales has been in talks with his Turkish counterparts on regional terrorism issues since Monday. The talks are focused on repatriation and prosecution of captured Islamic State and al Qaeda terrorists, border security and “countering the Kurdistan Workers Party” or PKK according to a department statement.

The visit comes days after Pentagon officials terminated training programs for Turkish pilots aboard the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Defense Department officials made the move in protest of Ankara’s plans to buy the Russian S-400 missile system, which the U.S. and other European allies fear could compromise NATO’s defenses.

Turkey has said it is determined to proceed with the Russian purchase, saying it turned to Moscow following Washington’s refusal to sell its Patriot missile system.

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