No deal on İncirlik yet but talks continuing, Turkey says
DHA PhotoTurkey denied claims that it has reached a deal with the United States for the use of its military bases, including the İncirlik base, in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), but stressed that talks were still underway to determine Ankara’s contribution to the U.S.-led coalition.
“There is not a new agreement on the use of İncirlik. The U.S. is using the base given the existing agreement. There are requests and expectations [from the U.S.] but talks are still continuing,” a source from the office of the prime minister told reporters Oct. 13.
Turkey and the U.S. have been holding lengthy discussions over the former’s participation in an international coalition built to destroy the ISIL militants in Iraq and Syria. The unnamed source said the two countries have agreed on the training of moderate Syrian rebels but underlined that where and how these training efforts will be carried out were yet to be decided.
A U.S. military planning team is expected to launch technical talks with their Turkish counterparts this week in Ankara, which will follow up on U.S. President Barack Obama’s anti-ISIL fight coordinator Gen. John Allen’s trip last week to the Turkish capital.
The source’s statement came a day after some senior U.S. officials told the media that Turkey has made new commitments on the use of its military bases and airspace for airstrikes to be carried out by the coalition forces. The source recalled that U.S. reconnaissance flights over Iraqi airspace were being carried out from the İncirlik Base from a deal made in 2007.
Turkey still conditional
Senior Turkish officials have been continuing to place conditions on coalition forces before allowing the use of Turkish military bases. Both President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu have made statements in that direction.
In his interviews with the Turkish media over the weekend, Davutoğlu linked the opening of Turkish bases to the anti-ISIL coalition with the establishment of security zones and no-fly zones in Syria. In his address in Istanbul yesterday, Erdoğan cited the same conditions and also added the destruction of the Bashar al-Assad regime as the main objective of the coalition offensive into Syria.