U.S. commander neither confirms nor denies nuclear weapons in Turkey air base
The commander of the United States Incirlik Air Base in Turkey’s southern Turkish province of Adana, said that the United States has no plans of leaving its air base in the county and said he could neither confirm nor deny the existence of nuclear weapons on the base, independent news site T24 reported.
Increased tensions between Washington and Ankara have led to speculations on the fate of the İncirlik Air Base, which serves as a main base for U.S. military operations in the region.
Colonel David S Eaglin stressed that the U.S. presence in İncirlik was symbolic of its desire to work with Turkey which is an ally and strategic partner, stressing that the base plays a pivotal for the United States, Turkey and other NATO ally countries.
When asked if he could ever imagine the S-400 Russian missile systems, whose purchase from Russia by Turkey has been an ongoing source of tension between the two NATO allies, deployed at the base, Eaglin noted that this would be entirely Turkey’s decision.
‘’We fully respect your right to protect yourselves; however, the U.S. Defence Ministry has expressed its reservations with the S-400s,’’ Eaglin said, referring to the U.S. criticism of the purchase citing its incompatibility with NATO systems.
Last month, a top U.S. State Department official warned Turkey that its purchase of 100 Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter jets from the United States would be jeopardized if Ankara does not stop plans to buy S-400 missile defense systems from Russia.
Russia and Turkey signed a loan agreement on the purchase of the Russian-made S-400 surface-to-air missile systems in December of 2017. Russia is set to supply Turkey with four batteries of the S-400s, whose initial delivery to Ankara is planned for the first quarter of 2020.
Eaglin declined to comment when asked about the Incirlik base's significant role during the attempted coup in 2016