Turkey to permit US military access to Incirlik air base

Turkish media reports agreement between US and Turkey for use of Incirlik air base for air strikes targeting ISIS

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Turkey reached an agreement with the US to allow its strategic Incirlik air base for air strikes against ISIS on Thursday, defence officials said.

Turkish media reported that Turkey gave permission to provide the Incirlik air base as an air strike launching location.

The White House issued a statement on the matter, asserting that US President Barack Obama and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke on Wednesday, but it did not provide any details of the agreement nor confirm it.

White House spokesman John Earnest said Obama and Erdogan decided to co-operate in a “deeper” way in the fight against ISIS, but did not comment on the use of the Incirlik base.

"I'm not able to talk about some of those issues because of specific operations security concerns," Earnest responded to a question about the Incirlik air base.

"What we have acknowledged is that our coalition has access to a variety of bases throughout Europe and the Middle East for a variety of missions," he added.

US military operations including bombing raids or launching air strikes prior to the agreement were not permitted at the Incirlik air base located in southern Turkey, however the US military uses the base to launch drones.

Earlier on Thursday a Turkish non-commissioned officer was killed and two sergeants were wounded by gunfire from Syria in Turkey’s southern border town of Kilis.

The gunfire opened from a region controlled by ISIS into Turkey’s 5th Armored Brigade Command, located around the Dag and Cobanbey border posts in the Elbeyli district of Kilis.

The fighting comes after a large explosion killed 32 people and injured hundreds of others in the garden of the Amara Culture Center on Monday, where members of the pro-Kurdish Federation of Socialist Youth Associations (SGDF) gathered for a press meeting.

The suspect bomber is determined to have been linked with ISIS.

TRTWorld and agencies