Turkey Fears Alienating US by Restricting Access to Incirlik Airbase

© Flickr / U.S. Department of DefenseU.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle sits after shortly landing Nov. 12, 2015, at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey
U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle sits after shortly landing Nov. 12, 2015, at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey - Sputnik International
Turkish leaders are unlikely to restrict access to the Incirlik airbase and impede US-led anti-Daesh operations because they need Washington to support Ankara’s aspirations for regional hegemony, experts told Sputnik.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — On Friday, an adviser to Turkey's president claimed Ankara could take certain measures against Washington, including changing the terms of United States' use of the Incirlik airbase, if it fails to declare Syria's Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) to be a terrorist organization.

Kurdish women hold flags of the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) political wing, the Democratic Union Party (PYD), and banners during a demonstration against the exclusion of Syrian-Kurds from the Geneva talks in the northeastern Syrian city of Qamishli on February 4, 2016 - Sputnik International
Turkey Has Levers to Push US to Recognize Kurdish PYD as Terrorist Group

Ankara claims the PYD has links to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is fighting for Kurdish independence from Turkey and is considered by Ankara to be a terrorist organization. At the same time the PKK denies having any ties to the PYD.

"They [the Turks] won't dare anger Washington beyond a minor disagreement — for sure not abrogate the Incirlik air base arrangement," radio show host and political activist Stephen Lendman told Sputnik on Friday.

Lendman added that comments critical of the United States emanating from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu are "largely bluster," because without US support Turkey's extremely dangerous delusions of establishing another Ottoman Empire "will go up in smoke."

The key regional concern in the Middle East, Lendman argued, is not Turkey or Saudi Arabia, but the United States and its true agenda.

Lendman argued that US support for peace and cessation of hostilities is pure subterfuge.

"Obama didn't launch war to quit until achieving his objective — replace Syrian sovereignty with US-controlled puppet governance."

Russian President Vladimir Putin, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and other officials, Lendman explained, continue forthright efforts to end years of conflict in Syria despite understanding the US agenda to control the region.

University of Oklahoma Center for Middle East Studies Director Joshua Landis told Sputnik that if Turkey were to follow through on threats to limit access to Incirlik it would put the United States in a very precarious position.

"Incirlik remains crucial to US efforts to fight the Islamic State [Daesh]," Landis suggested. "The United States has been building an airport in northern Syria, but it is small and would not be able to repair sophisticated jets."

Landis, who is also the editor of Syria Comment, observed that Washington is trying not to get in between the PYD and Ankara in their dispute because they both are vital US allies.

"I presume Turkey and the United States will work out their difference in some form of compromise, but US-Turkish differences are sharpening," Landis concluded.

Over the past month, Turkish forces have repeatedly attacked Kurdish positions in Syria, under the pretext they threaten Turkish security. Both Russia and the United States have called on Turkey to cease its artillery strikes.

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