March 12, 2018

INCIRLIK BLUES: U.S. Pares Back Use of Turkish Base Amid Strains With Ankara.

The base was the centerpiece of the U.S.-led fight against Islamic State for several years, but conflicting aims in Syria have driven a wedge between the U.S. and Turkey. The drawdown is among the strongest consequences yet of those fraying ties.

A squadron of American A-10 ground attack jets was moved from Incirlik to Afghanistan in January, leaving only refueling aircraft currently at the Turkish base. At the time, the Pentagon said it was stepping up operations in Afghanistan.

At the same time, the U.S. military has gradually reduced the number of military family members living on the base, shrinking its footprint in Turkey.

U.S. officials maintain that the U.S. remains committed to Turkey, a North Atlantic Treaty Organization ally, and that there are no immediate plans for a further drawdown of forces and aircraft. The A-10s, officials said, could return to the base at any time.

According to an older report, the US military began moving its nuclear weapons stockpile out of Incirlik two years ago, just weeks after Recep Erdoğan began his nationwide crackdown.

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