17 April 2014, Thursday
Today's Zaman

Turkish military denies presence of US troops in Diyarbakır

31 October 2012, Wednesday /TODAY'S ZAMAN
The Turkish military has denied media reports suggesting that a group of US army officials paid a visit to the Diyarbakır Airbase, the closest NATO military base to the Syrian border.

Turkish media outlets reported that 20 US military officials went to the Diyarbakır Airbase from an Ankara military base via a Turkish military plane. The objective of the visit was to discuss possible military cooperation with regard to the worsening Syrian conflict, which raises concerns of a regional conflagration, media reports said.

The US military delegation allegedly inspected the airbase for two days to examine its current readiness for any possible future military action.

The reports said that when the US military delegation arrived to the base, a Turkish aircraft was deployed on a reconnaissance mission over the porous Syrian border, which has become the scene of exchanges of artillery fire between the Turkish and Syrian militaries, stoking fears of a further escalation.

However, US military officials did not take part in the mission, reports said.

The Turkish military strongly denied the media reports for the third time since the emergence three weeks ago of allegations of an American military presence in Turkey to deal with the escalating Syrian conflict.

A statement released on the website of the Turkish General Staff dismissed the claims, saying that there were no US military officials at the Diyarbakır Airbase and that no such inspection had taken place.

Recently, the Turkish military and the minister of defense quickly denied any US military presence in Turkey after top US commanders said military personnel had been sent to Turkey to assist in handling the spillover of the Syrian crisis and the fight against the terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

“There are no US military personnel or units deployed in Turkey with regard to the developments in Syria,” a statement from the General Staff said on Saturday. It said US military personnel are based at an airbase in İncirlik, in Adana province, under a 1980 agreement with the US on defense and economic cooperation; in Kürecik, Malatya, to operate a US radar deployed in Turkey as part of a NATO missile defense system under an agreement dated Sept. 14, 2011; and finally at the Office of Defense Cooperation (ODC) that operates under the US Embassy in Ankara.

Turkish diplomatic sources earlier also denied any US troop presence in Turkey, saying Turkish-US cooperation on Syria is limited to closed-door meetings that involve military officials and diplomats of the two countries who meet as part of a mechanism announced during a visit by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Ankara in August.

DIPLOMACY  Other Titles
US warns against damage to ties over recurring media claims
Chief ombudsman laments low implementation of KDK recommendations
KRG's Barzani visits Ankara for talks with Erdoğan
Villagers file suit against ministry over stray bullets from Syria
Chinese deputy foreign minister in Ankara for inter-delegation meeting
Turkey says deeply concerned over events in Ukraine
‘Turkey will not remain silent over 'genocide resolution' if adopted’
Russia welcomes Turkey's assurances on observance of Montreux terms
Poland: NATO should send troops to east Europe, ignore Russia's objections
US looks to Turkey to uphold checks and balances
Dubai may be a hub for Turkey and Iran's illicit transactions
US House Speaker meets senior Turkish officials in Ankara
EU Minister Çavuşoğlu says Füle's comments on Turkey ‘balanced'
US Ambassador Ricciardone has talks with AK Party officials
Turkey's honorary consuls meet to discuss foreign policy
Iran to build cultural center in the heart of İstanbul
Loğoğlu: No Turkish institution in US works against Turkey
Erdoğan will further polarize Turkey as presidential election approaches
European Union concerned about rule of law in Turkey
Turkey seeks to restore dialogue with Serbia with FM's visit
Turkish Rights groups slam Egypt over execution ruling
Turkey to boost relations with Afghanistan, backing stability in post-election era
Erdoğan's political ambitions clash with Turkey's long-term interests
Critics say Turkey no longer state with rule of law with MİT bill
Turkey might export domestic political tension to diaspora