I did not say Russian jets could use İncirlik: Turkish FM
DHA photoTurkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on July 4 he had not suggested that Turkey could open up its İncirlik Air Base to Russia, adding that Ankara was open to cooperating with Moscow in the fight against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
When asked if he had said Russian jets could use İncirlik, Çavuşoğlu said: “I did not make such a comment. We said that we could cooperate with everyone in the fight against ISIS [ISIL],” he said in comments following a cabinet meeting in Ankara.
“We said that we could cooperate with Russia in the period ahead in the fight against Daesh. I did not make any comment referring to Russian planes coming to the İncirlik Air Base,” the foreign minister added, using an Arabic acronym for ISIL.
Some reports published on the Turkish media on July 4 suggested that Turkey was considering to allow Russian jets use the base in the southern province of Adana. The base is currently used by the U.S-led coalition fighting ISIL and has troops and jets from the United State, Germany, United Kingdom, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
“We will cooperate with everyone who fights Daesh,” Çavuşoğlu told TRT Haber in June 3’s remarks. “We have been doing this for quite a while, and we opened Incirlik Air Base for those who want to join the active fight against Daesh.
“Why not cooperate with Russia as well on these terms? Daesh is our common enemy, and we need to fight this enemy.”
The Kremlin described the notion that Turkey could open up Incirlik as a “serious statement” although it said it had not had any contact with Ankara on the matter.
Russia said it was looking to “revive” the sharing of information with Turkey in the fight against Islamic State.
“Channels to exchange information with Turkey have not been working lately. We now have to revive and relaunch them,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
Last week’s bomb attack on the main airport Istanbul - which left 45 people dead and hundreds wounded - showed the importance of working together to counter terrorism, he said.
Russian nationals have been identified as two of the three suspected Islamic States suicide bombers behind the airport attack, which is thought to have been masterminded by a Chechen.