ANKARA --- Turkish National Defense Minister Hulusi Akar met with the representatives of the Turkish media on an iftar (the evening meal eaten by Muslims after the sun has gone down during Ramadan) in Ankara.
In his meeting with the Turkish journalists, one of the journalists, Bülent Aydemir of Turkey’s Habertürk, asked whether Turkey would use Incırlık Air Base and Kurecik Radar Base as leverage against the U.S.
“When things are spoken, their magic is deteriorating. This is all on the table, in our minds, without doing much, we will do our best to protect our legal rights. Negotiation continues in a way, of course. Our gimmick is to resume negotiations,” he said regarding the question.
The answer signals that Turkey could use Incirlik and Kurecik bases as a leverage against the U.S in days to come as the U.S. has stepped up the pressure on Turkey over S-400 purchase from Russia.
Both Incirlik and Kurecik bases in Turkey are key to the U.S. presence in Turkey.
At Incirlik Air Base in Turkey, about 100 miles from the Syrian border, the United States stores some 20 to 80 B61 nuclear weapons for delivery by Turkish or American aircraft.
Turkey believes it has valuable bargaining chips, including an early-warning radar at Kurecik, a critical part of NATO's ballistic-missile defense capabilities, and the Incirlik Air Base, close to Syria.
NATO’s radar base in the eastern province of Malatya, Kürecik anti-missile shield has been functioning since 2011 as a protective measure for NATO, of which Turkey is a member.
Incirlik, a Turkish air base located 110 kilometers from the country’s border with Syria, has been a strategically-important asset both for NATO and the US military. (end of excerpt)
Click here for the full story, on the Ehamedia website.