Turkey in ‘crisis’ Over US Presence at Incirlik Nuclear Base
Top Turkish officials have questioned the use of Incirlik Air Base by the US-led coalition, citing a “confidence crisis” with Washington and inadequate support for Turkey’s ground forces in Syria.
The US-led coalition does little to provide aerial support to Turkish troops deployed in Syria as part of the Operation Euphrates Shield, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavusoglu told state-run Anadolu news agency on Wednesday.
“Our people ask, ‘why are they using the Incirlik Airbase. We allowed not only the US but also other countries’ jets to use Incirlik to jointly fight [ISIL],” he said.
“What purpose are you serving if you do not provide aerial support against ISIL the most sensitive operation for us?” he added.
Though the minister called the US “a very important ally,” he emphasized that there is “the reality of a confidence crisis in the relationship at the moment.”
In his Wednesday statement, Çavusoglu also accused Washington of aiding Kurdish militias – considered terrorists by Ankara – and “preferring terrorist organizations over its ally [Turkey].”
His remarks were echoed by Turkish Defense Minister Fikri Isık, who said that the lack of US air support for Turkey’s operation in al-Bab “raises questions” about the American presence at Incirlik.
“We hope that all coalition forces, primarily the US, give air and other support that Turkey needs in the Euphrates Shield operation and the necessary step will be taken soon,” Isik told journalists in Ankara.