Rumours are circulating that Turkey may retaliate against the United States for recent sanctions against its defence industry by demanding it leave Incirlik Air Base.
According to journalist Zuifikar Dogan this option is on the table as a response, a familiar threat from Ankara for whenever its relationship with Washington enters a sour phase.
On Monday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the U.S was imposing sanctions on the Presidency of Turkish Defence Industries (SSB), its president Ismail Demir and several other executives. These sanctions prohibit SSB from accessing loans from either U.S or international financial institutes, restricts exports licenses for Turkish military products built with U.S components, and initiates visa and asset freezes on SSB’s executives.
Turkey’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemned the decision and rejected U.S arguments against its purchase of the S-400 missile system last year from Russia. In a statement, the ministry said it would retaliate in a manner and timing of its choosing.
Incirlik Air Base has been jointly operated by the U.S and Turkish Air Force for decades and it has been an important base for U.S operations in Iraq and Syria. The base is also home to forward deployed tactical nuclear weapons.