CHP candidate says he will not close US Incirlik base

The main opposition secularist People’s Republican Party (CHP) presidential candidate Muharrem İnce clarified his previous comments on closing an important U.S. airbase in İncirlik in south Turkey, in an interview with Deutsche Well Turkish on Sunday.

On May 17, during an election rally, İnce promised to demand the extradition of Fethullah Gülen, the head of the religious group accused of masterminding the coup attempt, who resides in the United States. If Washington refuses the extradition request, İnce said he would force U.S. troops to leave İncirlik on Christmas eve.

“I did not say I will close it. I said American troops will spend their Christmas holiday in United States. It is their right anyway,” İnce told to DW about İncirlik. 

İnce also said that he would be a president who would turn his face to the West. “Our goal is the European Union. We will not talk about foreign affairs carelessly. We will not make populist, radical statements. We will have a foreign policy which will combine our country’s security interests and economic interests,” İnce explained. 

Meanwhile, a group of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its ally Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) supporters tried to provoke CHP supporters while they were leaving after İnce’s election rally today in İzmir in west Turkey, Özgürüz TV reported.