Middle East

Turkey FM Says No Plans to Open Air Base to Russia for Syria Strikes

Turkey’s foreign minister said Monday there are no plans to let Russia use a Turkish air base to launch strikes against the ISIL Takfiri group despite a thaw between the countries.

Mevlut Cavusoglu moved to clarify his position after appearing to suggest in an interview with TRT television Sunday that Turkey could let Moscow use the southern Incirlik base.

“That’s not what I said,” Cavusoglu said on television Monday, saying his comments had been misinterpreted by the press.

“I said we were ready were cooperate with everyone in the fight against ISIL.”

Cavusoglu had said in the TRT interview: “We have opened the Incirlik air base to those who want to participate in the fight against Daesh. So why not cooperate with Russia in the same way?”

Moscow and Ankara plunged into a diplomatic crisis in November when Turkey shot down one of Russia’s military jets on the Syrian border.

But over the last week they have announced a bid to repair ties, with Russia set to lift punishing economic sanctions on Turkey.

The Incirlik base is used by the US-led coalition fighting ISIL, with Turkish, American, British, German and Saudi jets deploying from there.

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