Turkey coup bid: US army chief visits bombed parliament

– Gen. Dunford says parliament staying open during July 15 coup attempt bombing is a sign of great courage

The United States’ top military officer Monday visited Turkey’s parliament, in the wake of the deadly July 15 coup attempt which damaged the building, according to Anadolu Agency.

Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff visited the Turkish Grand National Assembly with his Turkish counterpart Gen. Hulusi Akar.

Dunford was shown the bombed parts of the parliament building and also met with Parliament Speaker Ismail Kahraman.

According to sources who spoke of condition of anonymity due to restrictions on speaking with the media, Dunford offered his condolences to the Turkish officials and reiterated U.S. support for its ally Turkey.

The sources added that Dunford mentioned that parliament staying open during the bombing by pro-coup soldiers was a sign of great courage.

During the tour, Dunford told Akar, “Just honored to be inside. It is still standing. Little scratched, a little dented, but it is still here.”

Dunford also told Akar that the parliament is a symbol of Turkey’s greatness.

An official statement from the U.S. Defense Department on Monday gave information about Dunford’s visit to Turkey.

“Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has arrived in Turkey to visit and speak to U.S. personnel stationed at Incirlik Air Base, Joint Staff spokesman Navy Capt. Greg Hicks said in a statement issued today,” the statement said.

“Additionally the chairman will meet with Turkey’s Prime Minister Binali Yildirim and General Hulusi Akar, Chief of the Turkish General Staff,” the statement added.

It also mentioned that Dunford will deliver messages “condemning in the strongest terms the recent coup attempt and reaffirming the importance of the U.S.’s enduring partnership for regional security as symbolized by coalition operations out of Incirlik in the counter-ISIL [Daesh] fight, and the importance of Turkey’s contributions to both the counter-ISIL [Daesh] coalition and NATO alliances.”