U.S. airbase in Turkey ‘should be moved to Greece’ - analyst

The United States should end its presence at Turkey’s İncirlik airbase, which is no longer vital to its national security concerns, the National Interest said on Wednesday.

Strategically located in Turkey’s south-east, İncirlik has provided a key forward operating base for U.S. air force operations in the region, most recently in the campaign against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.

But the airbase has lost it significance following the end of the Cold War and the United States’ growing energy independence, the Richard Caroll writing for the NI said.

Historically, Incirlik was considered central to countering Russian influence in the Middle East, and still hosts U.S. nuclear weapons.

However, Turkey’s recent cooperation with Russia, including the purchase of the Russian-made S-400 system, and the growing influence of political Islam under Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has made the country an unreliable U.S. ally, the magazine said.

Greece should instead be considered as an alternative, with discussions already underway to reopen a former U.S. airbase near the city of Iraklion on the Greek island of Crete, it said.

The U.S. already operates a small military presence in Greece, and has strongly backed Athens in its dispute with Ankara over access to natural gas recently discovered in the eastern Mediterranean.