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High-ranking Turkish officials have recently expressed their discontent with Washington failing to provide assistance to Ankara’s military operation in northern Syria, implying that NATO forces could even be asked to leave the Incirlik airbase. Political analyst Stuart Rollo told Radio Sputnik that Turkey “is testing the waters”.
“They want to test the waters, they want to see the reaction of the incoming Trump administration”, he said.
“Trump spoke a lot on his campaign about supporting the Kurds. He frequently cited their bravery, said that they were the most effective ally the US had in the region in the fight against [Daesh]. I think Turkey is a little bit worried that he might actually go and back up some of that campaign rhetoric with action”.
On Wednesday, Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu mentioned Incirlik, saying that the Turks wondered why the United States and its allies were using the base if they did not provide air cover for Operation Euphrates Shield, a major Turkish-led offensive in northern Syria. A day later, presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin reiterated that Turkey had the right to close the base, but added that this issue was not on the agenda.
Rollo, a researcher in international security based at Sydney University, suggested that Ankara wanted to send a signal to Washington that it was not a given that the United States could continue to use the military facility “if they don’t begin to cooperate with Turkey against the Kurds”……………….