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Rudaw

Middle East

Russia has not asked to use Turkey’s Incirlik airbase, but welcomed in Iran

By Rudaw 21/8/2016
AFP photo of a Russian airbase
AFP photo of a Russian airbase

Over the weekend Iran’s Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan said that Russia can use its airbase in Hamadan to carry out airstrikes on Syria “for as long as they need” to complete their operations. Also Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim denied that Russia had demanded to use Incirlik airbase in southeast Turkey for its air campaign in Syria. 

Dehghan said the Russians can base their aircraft at Hamadan as part of cooperative efforts to fight “terrorist” groups in cooperation with the Syrian regime, which both Moscow and Tehran support to varying degrees. 

Russia has based some long-range Tu-22’s from Hamadan, which is a lot closer to Syria than the previous bases they carried out airstrikes from their own country. 

Dehghan’s comments, which he made at a news conference on Saturday, coincided with comments made by the Turkish Prime Minister, who stressed that Russia has not demanded usage of Incirlik airbase for its air campaign in Syria. 

“Russia had no demands to use Incirlik air base. Those reports are not true,” Yildirim told reporters in Istanbul on Saturday. However he did say that if Russia wants to use the base to attack Islamic State (ISIS) militants in Syria is it welcome to do so. 

But he did insist that, “Russia doesn’t need to use the base. They have bases in Syria.” 

The Secretary of the US Air Force, Deborah James, told Rudaw on Friday that she “won’t be ok” with the Russians using Incirlik. 

“It would not be OK with me as Secretary of the Air Force. I would not be in favour of such a position,” she said before adding, “Of course people can talk about different things. That’s different from actually coming to an agreement and making such a deal.” 

Last Tuesday a member of the Russian upper house of parliament, Igor Morozov, suggested that Turkey could offer Russia usage of Incirlik, describing such a move as “a logical continuation of Turkish President [Recep Tayyip] Erdogan’s step toward Russia.”  

Morozov also said that Russia might not even need to use Incirlik. 

“It is not guaranteed that Russia needs to use Incirlik, but such a decision can be regarded as Turkey’s real readiness to cooperate with Russia in the fight against terrorism in Syria, and not just pay lip service,” he said. 

Earlier this month President Erdogan, and other senior officials, visited Russian President Vladimir Putin in St. Petersburg where both sides agreed to coordinate their actions in Syria.  

Comments

 
Nuts | 21/8/2016
Is turkey nuts? If they agreed to Russian using incirlik airbase to bomb the rebels that turkey supported. Turkey must be off their head. They are crazy. If they do this to spite US then Erdogan will lose Syria and after spending all their money to supply the rebels with weapon and provision for rebels and local population. Erdogan has lost so many of their friends for their intransigence now they are making friend with their enemies. Russian is not interest in supporting turkey but using them for their own purpose.
IranMan | 21/8/2016
Since when Iran needed to see if it's "OK" with the US how it handles its affairs?! I'm sure with "allies" like some Kurds and the Ibn Saud charlatans, there are enough useful idiots to keep the US satisfied.
Mehmet Tavukoglu | 22/8/2016
Maybe the Russians don't want to be blackmailed by Erdowank.
T.I. | 22/8/2016
Turkish officials [read: Erdogan] made a whole bunch of promises to quickly mend ties with Russia, surely the Russians must have anticipated that he would backtrack on at least half of them. But the biggest fool turned out to be Assad, the Russians repeatedly warned him not to attack Kurds and cause a split but the Iranians were pushing him to do it, and Assad chose to listen to the Iranians instead and lost.
Circassian 4Ever | 23/8/2016
The Russian bear has been kicked out of its cave in Hamedan for now. Russia and Iran are not as close as the media portrays them to be.
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