Secretary of U.S. Air Force Deborah James. AFP photo
NEW YORK—Following a statement by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu to the local media that Russia might be given the green light to use Turkey’s Incirlik base for airstrikes against the Islamic State (ISIS) in Syria, Deborah James, the Secretary of U.S. Air Force said that she "won't be ok" with sharing the air base with the Russians.
The top U.S. Air Force official told Rudaw's New York correspondent Majeed Gly, “It would not be OK with me as Secretary of Air Force. I would not be in favor of such a position.”
“Off-course people can talk about different things,” she added. “That’s different from actually coming to an agreement and making a deal.”
James’ response comes after strong indications from Turkish foreign minister that Turkey might consider military cooperation with Russia.
Turkey's Foreign Minister Cavusoglu told the Russian government-run agency Sputnik last week that “Turkey wanted to cooperate with NATO members up to this point, but the results we got did not satisfy us. Therefore, it is natural to look for other options.”
A visit by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to Moscow earlier this month marked a major shift in Turkish foreign policy after almost a year of soured relations with Russia after shooting down one of their jets over the border with Syria almost a year ago.
The Incirlik air base in southern Turkey has been used by the US-led coalition to carry out air strikes against ISIS and other Islamist groups in neighboring Syria.