File photo of U.S. Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II fighter jets are pictured at Incirlik airbase in Adana. Reuters
Charles Wald, Defense One: Get Ready to Walk Away from Incirlik
As U.S.-Turkey relations cool, retaining access to the air base will require ending our dependence on it.
Turkey’s Incirlik airbase has supported America’s most vital strategic needs for more than a half century, first during the Cold War and more recently in the fight against terrorists. Now, as its host country becomes less stable and less friendly to the United States, the best way to ensure continued access to this large and well-located base is to prepare to do without it.
In July, the Turkish government publicly accused the U.S. of backing a failed coup. More recently, Ankara pledged to deepen military cooperation with Russia, bombed U.S.-backed Syrian Kurdish units fighting ISIS, then complicated the war against ISIS by picking a fight with Baghdad over Mosul. After Defense Secretary Ash Carter’s recent tense trip to Turkey, there is no better time for Washington to rethink its reliance on Incirlik.
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WNU Editor: The U.S. is not going to abandon Incirlik. Turkey is an important ally, and member of NATO .... and while there are problems with the Erdogan government, it has not risen to the level where the U>S. must now look for alternatives.