Turkey Hints at Barring US From Bases 12/11 06:29
ANKARA, Turkey (AP) -- Turkey's foreign minister suggested Wednesday that
the United States could be barred from using two strategic air bases in
retaliation to possible U.S. sanctions against his country, the state-run
Anadolu Agency reported.
Mevlut Cavusoglu comments came amid reports that U.S. lawmakers had agreed
on a defense bill that also includes calls to sanction Turkey over its decision
to proceed with the purchase and deployment of Russian-made S-400 missile
"In the event of a decision to sanction Turkey, the Incirlik and Kurecik
airbases can be brought to the agenda," Anadolu quoted Cavusoglu as saying.
He said: "Congress members must understand that it is not possible to get
anywhere with sanctions."
Incirlik airbase in southern Turkey has been a main base for U.S. operations
in the Middle East and more recently in the fight against the Islamic State
group in Syria and Iraq, while Kurecik, in eastern Turkey, is a key NATO base.
Turkey's decision to proceed with the purchase of the Russian system has
added to growing tensions between the two NATO allies. Washington says the
Russian system poses a threat to NATO and has removed Turkey from the U.S.-led
F-35 stealth fighter jet program.
Tensions were raised further after Turkey launched an incursion into
northeastern Syria to drive away Syrian Kurdish forces that had partnered with
the U.S. in the fight against the Islamic State group. Turkey considers the
Kurdish fighters as terrorists because of their links to outlawed Kurdish
rebels fighting inside Turkey.