Turkish defense minister meets with US counterpart

            By Umar Farooq</p>  <p>WASHINGTON (AA) - Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar arrived in Washington on Friday together with Chief of General Staff Yasar Guler to discuss Syria and other issues with their U.S. counterparts. </p>  <p>Greeted by Acting U.S. Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, Akar was welcomed with a ceremony that included a military band and three cannons that fired off artillery rounds in honor of his arrival.</p>  <p>The two then entered the Pentagon, where they prepared for a meeting.</p>  <p>“We wanted to do something special, so we brought out the cannons with [Joint Chiefs of Staff] Chairman Gen. Joseph] Dunford’s permission,” Shanahan said to Akar.</p>  <p>Shanahan highlighted the importance of the meeting, saying he wants to work with Ankara to find solutions to the problems in Syria and was looking forward to making progress.</p>  <p>“Our visit is important not only for bilateral relations, but also for security and stability in the region,” said Akar, who thanked Shanahan for his invitation.</p>  <p>Akar also took the opportunity to discuss the terrorist organizations that Turkey is dealing with.</p>  <p>“I would like to underline the difference between the YPG, PYD, PKK type terrorist organizations,” he said.</p>  <p>“We have never had any problem with Kurds or other ethnicities in Turkey or outside Turkey in Syria. But there will be fighting against terrorist organizations.”</p>  <p>The two leaders said they will also discuss Turkey’s S-400 missile defense system deal with Russia.</p>  <p>Ankara is planning to purchase 100 F-35 fighter jets from the U.S. pending congressional approval. Thirty fighter jets have already been approved for purchase.</p>  <p>Washington, however, has expressed concern over Turkey's S-400 purchase, saying the system might obtain confidential information on the fighter jets, including their detection range and operation mode.

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