KREMLIN PRESSES TURKEY TO USE ITS NATO AIRBASE

The Sukhoi Su 35S Russias new super maneuverable multirole fighter jet Photo Sukhoi CompanyRussia is putting pressure on Turkey to obtain access to its NATO airbase at Incirlik. Ostensibly, the reason is to better defeat ISIS in Syria. In fact, if it wins access, it is the diplomatic equivalent of a rude gesture to the United States, Europe and the West.

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According to the Russian news service, Sputnik, "Russian officials have reached out to Ankara to request access to the American-built base as a convenient launch pad for airstrikes in the Syrian theater."  But there is an allusion to another motive when the report adds, "it remains to be seen whether such cooperation will roil NATO’s feathers."

The article notes that Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has "drifted toward Russia" in the aftermath of last month's failed coup. Turkey has blamed the United States for "playing a hand" in the coup. This, says Sputnik, has "opened the door for the reestablishment of relations between Moscow and Ankara." Notably, the renewed relations have a strong military component. They include "increased defense and strategic cooperation in Syria."

Russian Senator Viktor Ozerov told RIA Novosti, Russia's state operated news agency, ""It’s not certain that Russia needs Incirlik, but such a decision would be seen as a real willingness on Turkey’s part to cooperate with Russia in the war against terrorism in Syria."

Senator Igor Morozov is a member of the Russian Parliament's Committee on International Affairs. In an interview with The Times, he made a prediction.

"You'll see. (Our) next base will be Incirlik."

 

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