Turkey's defense minister used a television interview on Friday to say the country’s Incirlik Air Base was under Turkish sovereignty, not NATO’s.
Fikri Isik also criticized Barack Obama’s administration over its Syria policy.
Isik told private news channel Haberturk: “Incirlik base is not a NATO base. This needs to be known by everyone. They [foreign forces] are in there with the permission of Turkey.”
He said Turkey had the right to shut down the strategic military facility and warned the country’s allies to be clear about fighting Daesh.
Isik’s comments came as Turkey questioned the role of the U.S.-led coalition against Daesh in Syria.
On Wednesday, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu accused the U.S. of failing to provide air support to Turkish-backed opposition forces taking part in Operation Euphrates Shield against Daesh.
Cavusoglu said the Turkish people were wondering about the continued presence of U.S. forces at Incirlik, given that Washington was not supporting Turkey’s significant operation.
Expectations from U.S. president-elect
Isik told Haberturk that Syria, Iraq and the region had been seriously unstable since the 1990-1991 Gulf War and blamed this on recent U.S. policies towards the Middle East.
Describing Obama’s policy on Syria as “unsuccessful and disappointing for America,” Isik said he hoped the Donald Trump administration would “read Syria correctly”.
Following Foreign Minister Cavusoglu's remarks earlier this week, coalition spokesman Air Force Col. John Dorrian told reporters on Wednesday that Incirlik had been "absolutely invaluable" in the U.S.-led campaign against Daesh.
"The entire world has been made safer by the operations that have been conducted there," Dorrian added. "It's a very important base to the coalition and to the ongoing fight against Daesh."
Turkey allowed U.S. aircraft to be stationed at the base to conduct airstrikes against Daesh in 2015.Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.