16 January 2018

Turkey says US ikely to lose Incirlik air base

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Turkey’s İncirlik Air Base, which is one of the main hubs for the U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), has been “absolutely invaluable” in the anti-ISIL campaign, the coalition said on Jan. 4, while Turkey has once again questioned the use of the air base. reports that, “The entire world has been made safer by the operations that have been conducted there,” coalition spokesman Air Force Col. John Dorrian told reporters from Baghdad, according to state-run Anadolu Agency. “It’s a very important base to the coalition and to the ongoing fight against Daesh,” Dorrian said, using an Arabic acronym for ISIL.

On Jan. 5, Turkish presidential spokesperson İbrahim Kalın said Turkey had the right to say that it is shutting the İncirlik air base down.

“We always have the right to shut İncirlik down,” said Kalın on a private broadcaster. “But as I said, first the conditions would be evaluated [in case of a shutdown idea]. We hold the right of disposition [of this decision] within the sovereignty rights,” he said, adding that he believed the U.S. President-elect Donald Trump’s administration would better take into account Turkey’s sensitivities.

Dorrian’s comments came after criticism from Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, who said the U.S. had failed to provide air support to Turkey-backed opposition forces taking part in Operation Euphrates Shield against ISIL.

The minister said the Turkish nation was asking the U.S. the question: “If you are not supporting us in the most significant operation, then why are you based at the İncirlik Airbase [in southern Adana province]?”
One day after Çavuşoğlu, Kalın also criticized the U.S.’ lack of support to Turkey in its ongoing campaign in Syria’s al-Bab.

2017.01.05 / 20:29
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