Senior Republican legislator questions U.S. reliance on Turkey’s Incirlik Airbase

Devin Nunes, a Republican legislator and the Chairman of the U.S. House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, discussed reducing U.S. reliance upon Turkey’s Incirlik airbase during a meeting with Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) on Friday. 

The discussion covered “important issues ranging from the need for full recognition of the Armenian Genocide to whether some functions of our Incirlik military base in Turkey should be transferred elsewhere,” Nunes said following the meeting.

“As Armenians know all too well, Turkey has long leveraged this base to hold America hostage,” said ANCA’s Executive Director Aram Hamparian. “Diversifying our forward positioning will lessen the leverage of Turkey’s increasingly hostile Erdogan government, broadening America’s range of action across a broad array of regional, security, and humanitarian priorities – among them, of course, full and formal U.S. recognition of the Armenian Genocide.”

İncirlik airbase in southern Turkey was established in 1954 by a joint-use agreement between the Turkey and the United States and serves as a main conduit for the U.S. military operations from the Middle East to Afghanistan.

The Wall Street Journal reported in March that the U.S. had sharply reduced combat operations at İncirlik air base and was considering permanent cutbacks due to deteriorating relations between the U.S. and Turkey which have made it challenging for the U.S. to operate at Incirlik.

Most international scholars and 29 countries recognise the events which led to the death of over one million Armenians starting in 1915 as a genocide; Turkey, however, admits that massacres took place but rejects the term genocide.

The United States has not officially recognised the events of 1915 as “genocide” and the U.S. Presidents’ statements issued every year on Apr. 24, Armenian Remembrance Day, have always been a source of tension between two NATO allies.