Politics 15:31 05/05/2021 Region

US air base becomes focus of US-Turkey relations again

Turkey’s Incirlik Air Base is once again at the center of debates over Ankara-Washington relations, following US President Joe Biden’s recognition of the Armenian Genocide.

As Arabnews reports the base, around 100 miles from the Syrian border, has been used under the Defense and Cooperation Agreement between Turkey and the US since March 1980. The US reportedly stores dozens of B61 nuclear weapons at the air base for delivery by Turkish or American aircraft.

If Turkey were to close the base, it would likely trigger the de facto end of the Turkish-US alliance, and lead Washington to abandon Ankara as a regional partner. There has, so far, only been speculation that Turkey may lower the US flag at the air base in protest at recent US decisions. 

On Monday, demonstrators gathered outside the US Consulate in Istanbul to protest Biden’s recognition of the genocide and demand an end to America’s use of Incirlik Air Base by shouting: “American soldiers, get out of Turkey!” 

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened to close Incirlik Air Base in December 2019, when the US Senate adopted a resolution that recognized the Armenian Genocide. At the time of writing, there has been no similar high-level response from senior government figures linking the future of Incirlik to Biden’s recent statement.

However, Turkish Defense Ministry officials were quoted by Turkish state-run Anadolu Agency on April 28 as saying: “Incirlik is one of our air force bases belonging to the Turkish Armed Forces. It is a Turkish base, and its ownership, along with all the facilities on it, belongs to the Turkish Republic.” 

The officials also said that the Turkish Republic “lets the United States government take part in joint defense measures at the Turkish Armed Forces facilities in Incirlik.”



Source Panorama.am
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