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Turkey's Erdogan warns of closing Incirlik airbase if US imposes sanctions

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Ankara | December 16, 2019 2:41:19 AM IST
Warning US against imposing sanctions, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said that his country, "if needed" will shut down the Incirlik Airbase.

The airbase is located in the Turkish city of Adana. The United States Air Force and the Turkish Air Force are the primary users of the base.

"It is important for both sides that the US does not take irrevocable measures... Turkey will, of course, respond to any US sanctions. If needed, we will close both Incirlik and Kurecik," Sputnik quoted Erdogan, as saying.

This comes after US Senate's Foreign Relations Committee approved a bill on sanctioning Turkey through the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).

Relations between the two NATO countries have gone sour ever since Ankara decided to buy Russia S-400 air defence system, despite US repeatedly raising concerns over the move.

Sputnik in its report said the US fears S-400 might compromise the operation of its F-35 fighter jets. Turkey though has gone ahead with the deal ignoring US objections.

In November, a senior US State Department official had urged Turkey to denounce the Russian S-400 air defence systems, in an apparent suggestion to Ankara to get back to the F-35 stealth fighter programme.

Russia and Turkey signed a loan agreement for the supply of S-400 air defence systems in September 2017 that resulted in the US suspending deliveries of F-35 fighter jets to its NATO ally.

Washington refused to provide Turkey with the aircraft, claiming that the S-400 deal is incompatible with the alliance's military equipment and might compromise the operations of the new fifth-generation F-35 fighter jets. Ankara has stuck to its agreement with Russia and refused to back down. (ANI)

 
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