US deputy secretary of defense arrived Monday in the Turkish capital, Ankara, for a series of talks with Turkish officials, including the country's defense minister.
"US Deputy Secretary of Defense Dr. Ash Carter has arrived in Turkey to continue close consultations on a number of core issues," said a statement from the US Embassy in Ankara.
The visit comes just days after a deadly suicide blast at a security checkpoint on the perimeter of the US Embassy compound in Ankara that killed the suicide bomber and a security guard. A Turkish woman was also seriously wounded in the attack.
"Dr. Carter's visit will also provide an opportunity to reaffirm America's strong commitment to Turkey as an ally in confronting international terrorism in the wake of last Friday's incident at the US Embassy," the statement said.
Carter was set to meet with Turkish Defense Minister Ismet Yilmaz and other defense officials "to help advance mutual defense cooperation, including NATO-led efforts to address the potential missile threat resulting from the conflict in Syria."
As part of a NATO mission, the United States deployed, along with Germany and the Netherlands, two US-made Patriot batteries in Turkey's south in a bid to bolster the country's air-defense systems against ballistic missiles that might be fired from Syria.