Saudi jets to arrive at Turkish base soon

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu says Saudi warplanes will soon arrive at country’s Incirlik Air Base

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu speaks during a press meeting with the Anadolu Agency Editors’ Desk in Ankara on Feb. 25, 2016.

Updated Feb 26, 2016

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has announced that Saudi Arabian fighter jets are expected to come to Turkey’s southern Incirlik Air Base at short notice.

"We are expecting [Saudi Arabian] the warplanes to arrive [Turkey] today or tomorrow," Cavusoglu said, speaking during a press meeting with the Anadolu Agency Editors’ Desk in Ankara on Thursday.

"The Saudi kingdom now has a presence at Incirlik Air Base in Turkey," Brigadier General Ahmed al Assiri was previously quoted as saying by Al Arabiya television in mid-February.

However, high-ranking Turkish officials said at the time that the mentioned warplanes have not arrived in the country yet.

Incirlik Air Base is located in the southern Turkish province of Adana and it has been used by US and NATO forces for various conflicts since 1958. The base is also located 100 km (60 miles) from the northwestern Syrian border.

Turkey reached a comprehensive agreement with the US government on July 23 to allow its Incirlik Air Base to be used by US-led coalition air forces for air strikes against DAESH as part of a joint action plan in northern Syria.

The Turkish foreign minister also welcomed the recent announcement of a cessation of hostilities in Syria which is due to come into effect on February 27.

"This is a process which we've been expecting. But what's more important is to implement this process. [The Syrian] regime and Russia have failed to comply with previously taken decisions,” Cavusoglu said regarding the ceasefire deal.

Cavusoglu also commented on US Secretary of State John Kerry’s statement on a US "Plan B" which includes the possibility of the division of Syria if the ceasefire deal is not properly implemented and steps for a political resolution are not taken by the different sides of the Syrian conflict.

"It may be too late to keep it as a whole Syria if we wait much longer," Kerry said on Tuesday to the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Cavusoglu said that Kerry's statement does not mean he aims to divide Syria, but was intending to draw attention to the risk of the partition of Syria if there is no political resolution to the continuing civil war.

"Indeed, the PKK’s Syrian arm - the PYD - desires to divide Syria in order to establish its own control in northern Syria," he said.

"They are not hiding their own aims. The PKK is a separatist organisation. The PKK and YPG are the same, there is no difference between them," he stated.

The PYD is considered by Turkey to be the Syrian extension of the PKK, which is listed as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the US, NATO, and the EU.

Turkey has long been confronted with armed attacks in its eastern and southeastern regions by the PKK.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini recently said that the 28 country-bloc has opposed the formation of a separate Kurdish state in the Middle East.

"The European Union does not support any separatist agenda for the Kurds - being it in Turkey, being it in Iraq, being it in Syria," Mogherini said at the European Parliament in Brussels on Tuesday.

TRTWorld and agencies