American Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), or drones, are expected to start operating at the Larissa Air Force base within the month of May, after nearly five years of diplomatic and military discussions.
[April 16 Not used in strike:’we could move out of Incirlik tomorrow’ ]
Informal restrictions by the Turkish military that make using the runway at Incirlik difficult, along with a deteriorating relationship between the two governments, have contributed to a decision to scale back operations at the base, officials say. Permanent cutbacks could be in the works. In 2007, “Seventy percent of the air cargo, American air cargo, going into Iraq goes through Turkey. Seventy percent of the fuel that goes in for our forces goes in … through Turkey …
“For those who are concerned that we get as many of these mine-resistant ambush-protected heavy vehicles into Iraq as possible, 95 percent of those vehicles today are being flown into Iraq through Turkey.”
Continuing tension puts in doubt Centcom’s ability to use its airbase in Turkey near the Syrian border at Incirlik. Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag said the strikes had not been launched via Turkey’s southern Incirlik air base.
“Turkey was informed ahead of the attack,” he wrote on Twitter. “The Incirlik base was not used in the attack.”
“This relationship was born in the Cold War, and they’ve spent 25 years after the fall of the Soviet Union looking for a new rationale,” Bulent Aliriza, director of the Turkey project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington said, October 10, 2017. “But we could move out of Incirlik tomorrow. It is far less important in the fight against ISIS than it was during the Gulf War.”
In a statement on Saturday, April 14, the Foreign Ministry termed the airstrikes as an “appropriate response”.
“We welcome this operation which has eased humanity’s conscience in the face of the attack in Douma, largely suspected to have been carried out by the regime,” the ministry said.
[July 21 2017 US deployed 3 more A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft to Incirlik airbase, Turkey]
US deployed 3 more A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft to Incirlik airbase, Turkey from Georgia. The total number rises from 12 to 15. “With the U2 we’re able to get out there, find those guys and track them,” said another pilot, Maj. Matt. “Then we get that information back to the fighters and bombers, so that way when they go out there they’ve got the best intel, the best information about where they are and can do what needs to be done.” Drones also play a major role. From the massive Global Hawk that can stay in the air for well over 24 hours to the smaller predator and reaper unmanned aerial vehicles, all these platforms contribute to what is a gigantic airborne surveillance
[July 19 U.S. to Turks: “very concerned if officials from a NATO ally would” …release sensitive information.” ]
Anadolu Agency published a map Wednesday July 19 showing 10 locations where it says U.S. troops are located. The posts span a stretch of northern Syria controlled by Syrian Kurdish forces that the U.S. supports but Turkey considers terrorists.
The U.S. doesn’t disclose where U.S.-led coalition forces in Syria are, for security reasons. The Pentagon says it can’t independently determine where Anadolu got the information. But spokesman Eric Pahon says the U.S. would be “very concerned if officials from a NATO ally would purposefully endanger our forces by releasing sensitive information.”
Pahon says that can disrupt efforts to defeat the Islamic State group.
[July 20} The news article that contained the map was based on the agency’s “own newsgathering network,” insisting that the government had not given “the information or directed the agency.”
Kalin says Turkey has no “thought or intention that would endanger the lives of our allies’ soldiers.”