İncirlik air base a Turkish compound, says defence ministry

The İncirlik air base in southern Adana province belongs to the Turkish Air Forces and is a Turkish military compound, state-run TRT news cited defence ministry sources as saying on Wednesday.

The statement arrives days after the U.S. President Joe Biden recognised as genocide the killings of 1.5 million Armenians living in the Ottoman Empire during World War I, in a move that threatens to further complicate relations between Washington and Ankara.

The Turkish government “permits the U.S. government to participate in joint defence measures at Turkish Armed Forces facilities in İncirlik,’’ the sources said.

Moreover, the use of certain facilities at Incirlik Base were carried out according to the Defense and Economic Cooperation Agreement signed between Ankara and Washington in March, 1980, they added.

Questions have been looming over the future of the İncirlik base, which hosts U.S. nuclear warheads about 100 miles from Turkey’s border with Syria, particularly following a period of soaring tensions between Washington and Ankara starting in 2019.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in December 2019 said Turkey could shut down the base,in response to threats of U.S. sanctions and a separate U.S. Senate resolution that recognising the mass killings of Armenians a century ago as genocide.

All facilities on the İncirlik base belong to the Republic of Turkey, the defence ministry sources said on Wednesday.