Ankara: After showing readiness to ally with Russia against ISIS in Syria, Turkey has now offered Russia use of its Incirlik airbase. Turkey’s proposal to Russia to use this airbase, which currently is under US control, is seen as a shock to the US. Last week Iran had offered Russia to use one of its airbases for launching attacks against the terrorists in Syria. US had expressed displeasure on this earlier, and now the current offer from Turkey to Russia is increasing worries for US.
Turkey had earlier opened its Incirlik airbase for the operation against ‘ISIS’. Currently US, Germany and Qatar are using it. In the coming days, other nations would also start using this airbase for launching attacks against ‘ISIS’, informed Turkey’s Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım while speaking to the local News Agency. However while answering the question whether Russia would be allowed to use this base, Yıldırım said that if required Russia can definitely use it. However, he firmly denied recent media reports that Russia was pressurizing Turkey over ‘Incirlik’.
Ten days ago Turkey’s President Erdogan visited Russia, during which he met the Russian President Vladimir Putin. Erdogen offered full co-operation to Russia for its campaign against ISIS in Syria, however Russia did not immediately responded to this proposal. It was said that Presidents of the two nations would discuss on the Syria issue in the coming days.
Member of the Russian Federation Council Igor Morozov informed the media about Turkish President’s proposal to Russia to use the ‘Incirlik’ airbase. Strategically the use of ‘Incirlik’ may prove vital for Russia and at the same time it would be beneficial for its operation against terrorists in Syria, claims Igor. Turkish Prime Minister however, denied these claims.
Russia is currently using the Khmeimim airbase located in western Syria for launching its attack on the ‘ISIS’. Launching attacks on ‘ISIS’ locations through this airbase is proving to be highly favorable for Russia. Turkish Prime Minister Binali said that due to this, Russia would not require the Incirlik airbase. However, proceedings at the Incirlik airbase since the last few days seem to be suspicious claim the European media.
After the coup attempt in Turkey last month, Erdogan government had laid accusation that the rebels used the Incirlik airbase for its operation. Post the coup attempt, Turkish government had initiated action at the Incirlik airbase three times. At the same time, it is reported that US is concerned about its nuclear weapons at Incirlik. Stating the possibility of another coup attempt in Turkey, US is taking steps to shift the 50 nuclear weapons from Incirlik airbase to Romania in Europe, as published by ‘Izvestia Daily’. Romania has however, denied this.
Meanwhile, Turkey’s action at the Incirlik and allegations against the US has created a rift in the Turkey-NATO relationship. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has said that the NATO member countries are reluctant to provide military co-operation to Turkey. Cavusoglu further said that it is thus important for Turkey to develop its own defense mechanism and for this, it is ready to co-operate with Russia.
In the meantime, Iran announced that Russia would be allowed to use Hamadan airbase for a prolonged period. Since last week Russian warplanes have started launching attacks at ‘ISIS’ locations in Syria from the Hamadan airbase. US has objected to this co-operation between Russia and Iran, accusing Russia of violating the UN sanctions. However both Russia and Iran have denied these accusations.
In such circumstances if Turkey allows Russia to use Incirlik airbase, it could invite a severe reply from the US.
— Samir Dattopadhye (@samirsinh189) August 23, 2016