US military denies leaving bases in Turkey, Qatar
WASHINGTON – Anadolu Agency
“The U.S. is not leaving İncirlik Air Base in Turkey, nor is the U.S. leaving Al Udeid AB, Qatar. These reports are false and without merit,” CENTCOM posted on its official Twitter page.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Air Forces Central Command (AFCENT) also tweeted that all such reports had “zero credibility.”
“There is zero credibility to news reports asserting the U.S. is leaving İncirlik and Al Udeid air bases in Turkey and Qatar,” it said.
“These unhelpful reports feed mistrust and division among regional partners at a time when we need to work together to address shared security concerns,” it added.
The Pentagon had said in the past that the diplomatic row between the U.S. and Turkey did not affect American operations or personnel in Turkey.
“The Turkish Air Force base in İncirlik continues to fulfill an important role supporting NATO and coalition efforts,” spokesman Col. Rob Manning had told reporters in October last year.
“Coalition counter-ISIS [Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant - ISIL] operations out of İncirlik and other Turkish facilities are closely coordinated with and have the full support of our Turkish partners,” he added.
Turkey and the U.S. have been trying to iron out a number of issues, principally concerning the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) in Syria, a group the U.S. has worked with and called a “reliable ally” in the fight against ISIL.
Ankara considers the YPG a terrorist organization because of its links with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
Turkey launched a military operation on Jan. 20 to eliminate YPG militants from the northern Syrian district of Afrin. The Turkish armed forces and the Free Syrian Army (FSA) declared full control over the district on March 18.