Turkey Threatens To Block US From Using Incirlik Airbase

Tyler Durden's picture

In the immediate aftermath of the failed Turkish "coup" of July 2016, the immediate concern to the US was not the fate of the Erdogan regime, but whether the US would maintain access to Incirlik Air Base, a strategic output for the US airforce, allowing it fast and easy access to most of the Middle East and part of Russia even in the immediate absence of an aircraft carrier. It explains why when Erdogan said he felt snubbed by the US, he cut off the power to the US troops stationed at the airbase, and kept them in the dark for a considerable period of time, perhaps to remind Washington that in Turkey he is the boss.

Fast forward to this week, when on Wednesday, Turkish officials again made a veiled threat to ground U.S. warplanes at Incirlik Air Base over the U.S. denial of air support for the Turkish military inside Syria. The officials questioned the value of having the U.S. fly missions out of Incirlik in southeastern Turkey against ISIS targets in Syria and Iraq while Turkish forces are struggling to take the ISIS-held Syrian town of El Bab.

"This is leading to serious disappointment in Turkish public opinion," Turkish Defense Minister Fikri Isik said, adding that "this is leading to questions over Incirlik," Turkey's Anadolu news agency reported.

He then once again treatened the US, when he said that to avoid repercussions that could affect Incirlik operations, the Defense Minister called on the U.S. to "start to provide the aerial support and other support that the [Turkish military] needs" to take El Bab, which would also drive a wedge between Syrian Kurdish militias supported by the U.S. in actions against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

U.S. Air Force Col. John Dorrian said Wednesday than any actions by Turkey to shut down or limit U.S. air operations out of Incirlik would be disastrous for the U.S. anti-ISIS campaign now focused in Syria on the drive by a mixed Syrian Kurdish and Arab force against Raqqa, the self-proclaimed ISIS capital. What he meant to say is that it would disastrous for the U.S., period, as it would deprive the US of one of its most critical military outputs in the MENA region.

12 F-15s from RAF Lakenheath, UK are deployed to Incirlik AB, Turkey, November, 2015

"It's absolutely invaluable," Dorrian, a spokesman for Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve, said of Incirlik. "Really, the entire world has been made safer by the operations that have been conducted there." Well, that or precisely the opposite - it all depends on one's point of view.

Turkey briefly closed its airspace to U.S. operations out of Incirlik last July and cut off power to the base during the failed military coup against the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan when suspicions ran high among Turkish officials that the U.S. may have supported rebels within the military.  As the coup attempt failed, a high-ranking Turkish officer walked across the Incirlik airfield and tried to turn himself into the U.S. military to seek asylum. His request was rejected, and he was arrested by Turkish authorities.

On Wednesday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said, "The U.S. is a very important ally for us. We have cooperation in every field, but there is the reality of a confidence crisis in the relationship at the moment" over Incirlik and the El Bab offensive, which Turkey has named Operation Euphrates Shield. "Our people ask, 'Why are they [the U.S. and coalition warplanes] using the ?ncirlik air base' " if they won't back up Turkish forces against ISIS and the Kurdish militias considered terrorists by Turkey? "What purpose are you serving if you do not provide aerial support against [ISIS] in the most sensitive operation for us?"

U.S. officials have confirmed they are withholding airstrikes from the El  Bab offensive while maintaining overall support for Turkey's anti-ISIS efforts inside Syria, aimed at sealing off border areas. On Tuesday, Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook said that U.S. aircraft flew near El Bab on Monday but did not conduct any strikes. In a briefing from Baghdad to the Pentagon on Wednesday, Dorrian suggested that weather and poor intelligence on the disposition of friendly forces may have been a factors in the decision not to attack.

"The cardinal rule of air support is to do no harm," Dorrian said, adding that the aircrews may not have had "good fidelity" on enemy positions. The result was "a show of force that was conducted at the request of Turkish forces operating on the ground," he said.

Quoted by Military.com, Dorrian said that "there were ongoing discussions at higher levels "to increase the support and operations" by the U.S. military to back Turkish forces, but "I can't get ahead of those discussions. I don't have the details to offer you about what the way forward will be in El Bab. But I do know there has been some good discussion on that, and Turkey is aware of that discussion," he said.

The loss of Incirlik air base would be a tremendous hit to US influence in the region.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began construction in 1951 of what was to become Incirlik Air Base, and U.S. and Turkish air forces signed an agreement in 1954 for joint use of the base. Incirlik long served as a deterrent to the then-Soviet Union and as a staging base for U.S. operations in the Mideast.

Despite recurring reports that US nuclear weapons are store in the base, the U.S. Air Force will neither confirm nor deny. About 5,000 U.S. service members, mostly Air Force, are based at Incirlik; they are currently confined to the base because of unrest in the region. The U.S. last year withdrew military families from Turkey, and the State Department has also sent home non-essential personnel.

The tensions over El Bab and Incirlik have only added to the downward spiral of relations between the U.S. and NATO ally Turkey, marked by Erdogan's new alliance with Russian President Vladimir Putin to bring about a ceasefire and peace talks to end Syria's nearly six-year-old civil war. As reported last week, the U.S. was not invited to a Moscow meeting last month of the foreign ministers of Russia, Turkey and Iran that led to Putin's announcement last week of the ceasefire and possible peace talks later this month in Astana, Kazakhstan, with rebel groups.

Turkey has also been angered by what it sees as U.S. foot-dragging on its extradition request for exiled Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, now living in Pennsylvania. Erdogan has blamed Gulen for fomenting the July coup attempt. In addition, Erdogan has bridled at U.S. support for the Syrian Kurdish militia known as the YPG, or People's Protection Units. The YPG has proven to be the most effective fighting force against ISIS in Syria, but Erdogan considers it an arm of the Kurdish PKK, or Kurdistan Workers Party, which has been branded a terrorist group by the U.S. and Turkey.

A senior U.S. military official, speaking on background last month, told Military.com that the Turks "hate that we support" the YPG.

Erdogan and other Turkish officials have charged that the U.S. is supplying weapons to the YPG. The U.S., while acknowledging support for the YPG, has denied giving them recent supplies of weapons.

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ReZn8r's picture

This Dorrian bastard is lying, just like every other US Govt. official. You can tell he is lying because he opened his mouth and works for the federal government. Kick them out.

Manthong's picture

What did we spend all that money on aircraft carriers for?

Son of Loki's picture

Even Kissinger says Obama's foreign policies are a complete disaster.

And it shows!

Trump has alot of work to do when he gets into the Oval Office cleaning this mess up.

Schmuck Raker's picture

Kissinger? Really?

What, like Satan wasn't available?

Déjà view's picture

Erdo...bring some movement into this rust seized system...unload another 2m. Western induced refugees and exit NATO. Like to see some well deserved sleepless nights!

OliverAnd's picture

Ironic is it not that he threatens to release 2 million Muslim refugees into Europe.  How can 2 million peaceful human beings be a threat?  He is in his own manner admitting that they are not all peaceful.

brianshell's picture

Even Erdogan admits that muslims are ticking cluster bombs and he will unleash them on his enemies.

Ghordius's picture

of course not. there is no such thing as even 100'000 humans that are all peaceful

take any group of 100'000 humans. a small city in Nevada or Siberia or China or Africa, it does not matter, it will contain non-peaceful people, be them murderers, rapists, whatever

humans respond in a depressingly good fashion to the "laws of statistics"

don't believe me, check yourself. take any statistic about crime, and you'll see that all crime is depressingly repetitive in the way it fits statistics

you drive me to "Smallville, pop. 100'000"?

I can predict that at least one murder will happen there, this year

the first statisticians were employed in the draft, in various countries on the continent of europe, including Russia

they came over as magicians. they were able to just check on the statistics of those who were drafted... and calculate how many were not yet. and this just by sampling things like height, weight, age

the real problem is elsewhere. it's one murder, one rape that already fills the mind with rage. which can be enough to stop further reasoning

Stanelli's picture

I see what you did here. Yes, it's true, but then again it's no secret that you can take your 100 000 people of different demographics (white, blacks, east asians, christians, buddhist, muslim etc.), create 'smallvilles' of them and compare levels of violence. You'd see that the level of violence is not the same. This is clearly visible in each and every statistics in which this kind of information is collected. Apart from this, compare amount of terrorist attacks in muslim countries (lot's of muslims there), western europe (some amount of terrorist attacks and some muslim percentage) and slovakia or poland (no muslims, no problems). Clearly there's an undeniable pattern.

beemasters's picture

I see where you are coming from. It really all depends on how much political/financial interests the conflicts are serving in certain areas. When it's hyped and there's more MSM focus on particular crime/group, it's a red flag. I wouldn't recommend judging by the MSM news from which to derive your conclusion. I know it's hard when that's all you've got.

Here's a documentary which details this example:
Defamation-Excellent Israeli Documentary on "Anti-Semitism" MUST WATCH

It's all social engineering in progress to benefit special interest groups.

Also consider this: Why do you think the so-called "terrorists" never seem to target the right people and their families - ie. political figures they deemed enemies - to get the message across more effectively?

Ghordius's picture

"I see what you did here. Yes, it's true..."

that's the point. yes, "the level of violence is not the same"

nevertheless, it's not levels that are being discussed

one murder, one rape... is enough. to produce anger

anger does not run on statistics

Hipower's picture

Apologising for barbarians. Is your daughter married to a nigger? Sounds so. Fuck you. Join the fight back or fuck off.  This is a time for serious  people. Get serious or go away.

Ghordius's picture

so you think that a few angry words, a few Fuck Offs on a blog is...

... "joining the fight"? or "get serious"? oh, my, if it was so it would be all very simple, eh?

meanwhile, where do you see niggers in all that? a case of projection?

Hipower's picture

" Oh my." Get beat up in high school much.

OliverAnd's picture

Take a population of 100,000 people?  Who makes up this population and of these distinct groups what is the crime rate is what you should be looking at.  While people in general commit crimes, I wasn't referring to theft but more along rape, mass shootings, bombings, etc. which is much more common among Muslims living in the Middle East and Africa.

Twee Surgeon's picture

You think he was talking about Henry, He was talking about Berty Kissinger, Berty is young and cool, he does Yoga.

Isotope's picture

Doesn't Turkey have a sizable air force?

Oh, that's right, they crippled it themselves by firing a huge number of their pilots after the attempted coup.

OliverAnd's picture

He purposely crippled his police and military force to allow Islamist to carry out attacks in Turkey to increase his totalitarian rule while meanwhile he and his family have been training, arming and financially assisting ISIS.  Today it was reported that his popularity has gone up.

Koba the Dread's picture

"We" spent all that money on aircraft carriers to keep the US economy inflated.

HalinCA's picture

B-52s can't fly off carriers ...

Déjà view's picture

England is a very large aircaraft carrier with numerous USAF bases...bomber and aerial refueling capable....

Close Incirlik!

onthesquare's picture

Tell me again.  Why was Turkey allowed to join NATO?

effendi's picture

Kick Turkey out of NATO. Kick Turkey out of Cyprus. Then act as a protector of Cyprus (and Greece) by having the assets currently in Turkey moved the short distance to Cyprus. As long as the US is dependant on that Turkish airbase it is hostage to Turkey.

OliverAnd's picture

Dorians are ancient Greeks.  Turks are Arabs that had their eyes on Konstantinople as 75% of the world's wealth passed through this Greek capital city. After conquering Konstantinople and destroying the Byzantine Empire with the organizational skills of the Mongolians they then enslaved the Christian populations in the region.  They would take away the prettiest Christian women and rape them in harems all over the Ottoman Empire.  Most of the lands they walk on are occupied lands from Lebanon, Syria, Kurdistan, Armenia, Pontos, Cyprus and Greece.  They are the miasma of the entire region. Palestinians were a Christian society that were either killed or transformed into a Muslim society by forcing the population to convert to Islam or displacing it and replacing it with Muslim Arabs. Since the occupation of Northern Cyprus in 1974 they have once again used the same tactic increasing Muslim populations by promoting the immigration of Turks to Cyprus. Turks are a collection of Islamic Arabs that have come together to form a fake nation while destroying as many societies as possible in the name of Islam.  Erdogan grew up in the Rize province (east Black sea region) selling sesame buns and lemonade; in fact he did such a great job that through this business endeaver he and his family are now billionaires.


ERDOGAN IS NOT A DORIAN!!!  He is the leader of Turkey and as such seen as the protector of Islam.  This is why he has supported ISIS by training them, arming them and financially supporting them.  Right now he is hoping that with Russia he will prevent Kurdistan from forming.   

BobEore's picture

If you think that lying is a monopoly enjoyed by .gov employees, you've been successully "trained" as a good zheeple, in the Pavlovian sense of the word. We exist in an era of competing "fake news" storylines - where the meme de jour in favor with any particular "flavor" of the two-sided dialectical deception that is the modern media(s) is lapped up and regurgitated by the partisans of that particular foolaid, eastern or western brand. Lost in this frenzy of disinfo, of course, is the basic respect for on the ground facts which used to be the cornerstone of all legitimate reportage and commentary.

Every peek back into the shadowpuppet theatre that is the Turco-Syrian farce now produces it's corresponding tsunami of partyline agit-prop in support of the usual "strategic-culture/saker/pepe" pep talk mobilizing the vast army of western dupery into burnin the flag once agin! The baby thrown out with the dishwater of this experiment in mind control is of course the core interest of those real Americans- and their putative country - what might still actuall exist in the midst of all the left-right bullshit propagated by a complict media which ALL work for the same talmudist master now.

As such, these predictable and hackneyed regurgitations allow me to simply paste an already assembled deconstruction of the latest example of same, from only hours ago - which due to differences in time zones etc., arrives per usual at the tail end of a thread's useful life...

ladies and hermaphrodites... in anticipation of the inevitably forthcoming "surge" from the usual suspects to fold this flashback story to August 2016 into the party line smoke and mirror format ... here be the template of fact based rebuttal:

This is the kind of revisionist history which comes as a consequence of being too far distant from the subject of one's musings -geographically speaking - and too loaded for bear against one's chosen bugaboos to let any objective consideration of facts on the ground interfere with the ideological overkill. I fear that all such renditions of the events of the past several years in the middle east lack the knowledge which can only come from being witness to the events themselves - not to the spins and twists of "strategic-culture" type replays of them according to the approved disinformational script. Having to choose between brands of agit-prop - eastern or western varieties - is a false dilemma. We can still choose the simple facts over all the rhetoric employed in their stead.


Excusing the pretend-Caliph, for instance, from being any more than a victim of "American" or "Anglo" duplicity is naive beyond all credence. It is also part and parcel of the new meme by which a putative "alliance" between frenemies Russia and Turkey sees that latter country "pivot" towards an SCO "Eurasia" and away from the west. Examples of which meme we see trotted out here every day now.


Erdo's role in the Syrian debacle was far different than innocent dupe of the west -although malicious knavery is not outside of the correct description of his situation. Plunged into the mess as a result of a great and shared animus of the Gulf Oil States(his Salafist financial backers and ideological brethren)towards the Iran/Syrian/Europe pipeline dream... and in defence of Qatar's plans for a competing line which would exclude Iran - a traditional enemy of the Sunni factionalist alliance,


As proxy for the oil-rich but militarily incompetent Sheikdom's, he offered NATO's largest army as a "guarantor"  of the plan, and willingly trained, supplied and directed the paramilitary army of foreign and domestic jihadist filth during their infiltration of Syria and abduction of it's resources and infrastructure back to Turkey. In all of this this the jihadi alliance was aided by an Israel eager to weaken and divide Islamic regimes everywhere, and by that faction of the MIC of the Anglo-European sphere which was firmly in the pockets of Tel Aviv. A puppetmaster which not only engineered the breach between Russia and Turkey, but, after the goal of that setup had been achieved, welded the two back together, as of June 2016, in a kind of master-slave relationship subsidiary to the more important Russo-Israeli tactical alliance now working for the breakup of NATO and the end of American superpower status - in tandem with their new puppet POTUS. A puppet Caliph in Ankara is a vital part of that same plan -which will see the emergence of a new Russian=Israel gas/oil behemoth which monopolizes European energy supply via a compliant and internally devastated Turkish economic and political satrapy.


As for your "Erdogan put the brakes on Kurdish expansion and the takfiri access to Syria" line, it's going to be interesting to watch what happens to that "brake" when the Raqqa campaign is over, and the Kurds and their SDF allies turn back their attention to the trapped and hopelessly misdirected TSK at al Bab. "Brake" and 'break' may assume more than just phonetic resemblance at which point!


Turkish politicians have been "talking about closing Incirlik" since July and the end of the phony coup. I put that talk - and all of the rest of the American Exceptionalist rhetorical narrative about Turkish pivots and Eurasian divots into proper context way back then - https://storify.com/SuaveBel/t-the-western-world - and you will see the pattern of events outline there


play out with chilling accuracy in the coming months. No matter how much folks would wish things to play according to their fantasies of "America=bad/Russia-good." Russia is a Chabad directed tool of the same entity controlling America now unfortunately - regardless of the mighty PR spin designed to suggest otherwise. Tis just the way of the world - a world cornered and deceived by aggressive talmudist millennarianism... and it's many western dupes and agents.

...as found in comment 8744105

BarkingCat's picture

My fucking god!!!

This is the comment section not a place for your own article.

Yen Cross's picture

       The nukes have obviously been moved,

    Erdogan is a really BAD guy, and he's burning the candle on both ends.  He's using geography, instead of smarts, when making decisions.

   His days are numbered, as the Lira collapses.

   Maybe Erdogan can buy some Chinese gold?

Mustafa Kemal's picture

This sounds good. Less war maybe

Manthong's picture

Golem should just pop over to the Reina night club, slosh a few down and chill.

YourAverageJoe's picture

I have no problem with us getting kicked out of Incirlik, as long as we take our atom bombs with us.

We need to start saving some money, and not defending Europe is a damn good start!

A nice, big ocean separates us from that shit, and it didn't cost us a cent.

duckrichard's picture

The only real big threat for Europe is the continued USA ingerence in our affair. I think it 's time to learn the difference between protecting and dominating.

NATO is used just like EU as a tool of control, think of what the US foreign power would be without the systematic alignement of vassal Europeen state ?

HowdyDoody's picture

It is obvious that it is a big hint to the US - stop siccing your ISIS terrorists on us, or you lose Incirlik. But then again there is no hint big enough for the US government to see, as its head is so far up the arse of hubris.



Stanelli's picture

Defending from what? The tides of savages from Africa (via Libya) and Middle East YOU created waging you wars? Because this is the actual and real threat to Europe's survival, not 'the bad Russians'


You can't park in my parking space either, Mr. US-NATO-head.


Now take your toys and go park them in your own yard.


jmack's picture

why has zero hedge not covered the fact that Obama pulled in all aircraft carriers for the first time in the history of aircraft carriers..... i think i saw one story on this, does anyone even know about this, or the implications?

Mustafa Kemal's picture

i noticed that too, when just recently there was one in the med

Elco the Constitutionalist's picture
Elco the Constitutionalist (not verified) jmack Jan 6, 2017 12:19 AM

They did. It headlined at least 1 article and was mentioned in a couple more.

fockewulf190's picture

Yup, they did.  Gotta be quick and aware when your in Fight Club.

HowdyDoody's picture

Plus hundreds of B-52s on Diego Garcia. It looks like they are taking assets away from the ME.


Twee Surgeon's picture

The Aircraft carriers are in port and re-upping, They have no place to go anyway under Constitutional law, there are a shit ton of Submarines floating around that would make any dispute a short conversation. Aircraft carriers are obsolete, they became obsolete when Argentinians sank the HMS Sheffield using Exocet missiles from tired French jets almost 40 years ago. Given any thought, Aircraft carriers are a posers job program and a national disgrace because the crew are at unnecessary risk.

Aircraft carriers and surface ships in general, in the age of the Thinking Rocket ? Did you see the Iraq war where they put missiles through roofs and windows at their lazer guided leisure ?

 Aircraft carriers will be used to Sink as an offense to public opinion, they have little use now in the age of guided rockets. A Submarine will pop up a hundred miles away, shoot of a round, a ship will be gone, no artillery, no cannon balls, no glory, no ship. Just gone.Keep up with the times. An Aircraft carrier now is not an Aircraft carrier at the battle of Midway. If a real war came and not a side show.

any_mouse's picture

Implications are nil.

Carriers are not defensive, they are power projection in a world without a competitive naval power.

There is a carrier group home ported in Japan.

Home port doesn't always mean in the USA kicking back on the couch with a beer and finding out your wife has been seeing someone.

Carriers are not the only tool in the box, just the most visible.

What is staged at Diego Garcia?

Herdee's picture

Nobody really knows how many foreign military bases the U.S. government has. Some argue it's only 700, most say it's over a thousand. Imagine the expense of being the world cop on the beat. So, 1 down at least 999 to go.

SHRAGS's picture

Imagine the expense of being the world cop on the beat.

We don't have to imagine, we, the vassels of the world are already paying it through the US dollar seigniorage

East Indian's picture

Nice of you to call the profit from selling paper money as seigniorage.

Spoke to an Economics professor a few days ago. He firmly believes that seigniorage is associated only with pm coinage, not paper currency! I was dumbstruck.

Seignorage was much lower in minting gold coins; paper money gives almost 99% seigniorage.

Digital money will give 100% seigniorage - one who has the power to create digital money, which others will accept in exchange for their goods and services, will have the power to buy the whole world... and will soon exercise that power to own the whole world. 

feudaliam ver 2.0... 

brianshell's picture

Can I get one of those digital creators on Amazon?

donomiller's picture

That's not fair, where does Turkey expect the Bush's and Clinton's to process their Heroin?

chosen's picture

Kick the dumb fuck Turkish government out of NATO.  See how they like kissing Putin's ass.

sheikurbootie's picture

I agree and then have the US leave NATO too.

SilverRhino's picture

And then we retake Constantinople and half of Malta.  Suck on that Erdogan

risk.averse's picture

 half of Malta

I think you meant to say "Cyprus" not Malta. Turkey sits on half that island much to Greece's ire. Grrek Cypriot guys like to play chicken near the Turkish border fence to show their patriotism and balls. One young guy went too far -- I think he tried to steal a Turkish flag -- and got killed some years back.