US is not leaving İncirlik Air Base

The United States Central Command denied on Sunday the reports that U.S. is preparing to leave the İncirlik air base in Turkey.

The Central Command posted a tweet, reading “The US is not leaving İncirlik Air Base in Turkey, nor is the US leaving Al Udeid AB, Qatar. These reports are false and without merit”. 

There were reports earlier this week that the U.S. has decided to liquidate its two main airbases in the Middle East.

However, the Central Command did not deny that the U.S. has been reducing its presence at Turkey’s Incirlik air base. The Wall Street Journal reported on March that the U.S. had sharply reduced combat operations at Turkey’s 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.

The U.S. has been using the base to conduct airstrikes against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq since 2015. In January the U.S. moved A-10 ground jets from İncirlik base, leaving only refueling aircraft, while also reducing the number of military members living at the base. At the time, the Pentagon explained that the decision to move aircrafts was taken so as to step up operations in Afghanistan.