World Bulletin / News Desk
A weeklong trip to the Middle East and Europe will first take Carter to Ankara, according to the Pentagon.
“He is scheduled to meet with Turkish leaders to discuss a range of security challenges in the region including the latest developments in Iraq and Syria” according to a statement. A defense official said Carter will stay in Turkey for a couple of hours.
The visit to Turkey comes as a rift between Ankara and Baghdad regarding Mosul has grown amid an offensive launched against ISIL extremists in the city.
Turkey has a long-standing camp at Bashiqa, where it has trained peshmerga and Iraqi fighters in preparation for the assault on Mosul that began Monday.
Baghdad, however, recently began to complain about the presence of Turkish troops and last month a diplomatic spat erupted around the issue.
The U.S. has remained neutral on the issue, publicly calling for a diplomatic solution to the row while mediating between the two countries for the benefit of U.S.-led coalition to succeed against ISIL in Mosul.
Carter is going to head to Unıted Arab Emirates and travel to Europe for counter-ISIL coalition meetings with U.S.-led coalition defense ministers in Paris on Tuesday.
He will wrap up his travel following the fifth NATO ministerial meeting in Brussels next Thursday.