Turkey refuses US permission
Turkey will not allow a US-led coalition to attack jihadists in neighboring Iraq and Syria from its air bases, nor will it take part in combat operations against militants, a government official told AFP Thursday.
“Turkey will not be involved in any armed operation but will entirely concentrate on humanitarian operations,” the official said on condition of anonymity.
“Incirlik will be used only for logistical purposes and humanitarian assistance,” the source, referring to a southern air base used for US and NATO operations in Iraq.
The decision echoes Turkey’s refusal in 2003 to abet the US offensive to oust Saddam Hussein, which triggered a crisis between the allies.
Ankara refused to allow Washington to station 60,000 troops in the country to invade Iraq from the north, then denied permission for Washington to use its air bases as a staging post for attacks.
Turkey has come under fire by some critics for indirectly encouraging the formation of the Islamic State because of its support of Islamist opponents of Syrian President Bashar Assad, and its loose control of its borders.
But Ankara vehemently denies its strategy has backfired.