ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
David Petraeus, the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, staged an unscheduled tête-à-tête with his Turkish counterpart on Sept. 2 in Istanbul during which the spy chiefs discussed the Syrian crisis and the Arab republic’s possible transition process.
Petraeus was expected to leave Turkey yesterday, one day after arriving. Ankara
was tight-lipped concerning Petraeus’ visit to Istanbul, with both Foreign Ministry officials and Prime Ministry officials giving identical answers: “We do not have such information [about the trip].”
The visit to National Intelligence Organization (MİT) head Hakan Fidan was the second unannounced visit by the CIA
chief to Turkey in the last six months. In March, the United States’ top spy paid an unannounced two-day visit to Ankara
to discuss the deepening instability in Syria, the joint fight against terrorism and closer cooperation on pressing regional issues “in the coming months.”
The issue of a transitional process in Syria was raised in the “operational planning” meeting between Turkish and U.S. delegations late last month in Istanbul. The aim of the meeting was to coordinate ongoing efforts to extend humanitarian aid to Syrians and to produce a common road map to shape a possible post-Baathist era. The meetings also raised the issue of the need for a smooth transition in Syria to avoid chaos in the country in the event that President Bashar al-Assad’s government collapses.