Turkey may close U.S. airbase in Turkey – Turkish deputy PM

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Fikri Işık on Saturday said Ankara would not refrain to close the Incirlik Airbase in Turkey, if Turkey’s long-term interests require.

Answering journalists’ questions regarding the tension between Washington and Ankara for the U.S. support to the Kurdish militia groups in Syria that Turkey considers as a security threat, Işık was quoted by pro-government Türkiye newspaper as saying:

If Turkey’s medium and long-term interests require to take a step [to close the base] Turkey certainly would not refrain from taking this step.

When reporters pressed whether his statement indicate that the closure of the base is in the government's agenda, Işık added, “certain issues are not expressed publicly, but the decision-making mechanisms always hold each and every subject in an evaluation,” according to the newspaper.

Established in 1954 by a joint-use agreement between the Turkish and the U.S. military, the Incirlik Airbase has about 5,000 U.S. troops, and is home to the 39th Air Base Wing of the U.S. Air Force.