US Marine Corps Gen. Dunford's visit came at a time when tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran reached a new peak over the two countries' proxy sectarian wars in the Middle East.
US Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford, left, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, signs the guestbook of Turkish Gen. Hulusi Akar, right, chief of Turkish Armed Forces on Jan. 6 prior to an office call in Ankara, Turkey.
Photo Credit: Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Dominique A. Pineiro/DoD
"Turkey has advised restraints to both Iran and Saudi Arabia … Our hopes to lower the tensions comes in line with the US priorities about bringing both sides [Iran and Saudi Arabia] for potential resolutions to conflicts in Syria and Yemen," he said.
Last month, the US expressed unease over Turkey's deployment of extra forces to a base near Mosul, Iraq, and worked to mediate the dispute between Turkey and its southeastern neighbor Iraq.
But Turkish-US policy priorities in war-torn Syria diverge from time to time. Ankara is concerned over Kurdish expansion in northern Syria while Washington views Syrian Kurds as main ground troop allies.
Burak Ege Bekdil was the Turkey correspondent for Defense News.