WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — This week, US media reports alleged that the United States deployment of F-15C fighter aircraft to the Turkish airbase at Incirlik in order to counter Russian aircraft currently flying sorties in Syria.
"We want to be able to put capabilities there [in Turkey] to defend their sovereign airspace, and it is something that we have been doing for a while with the Patriots [air defense missiles] and it is something we are going to keep doing with the F-15s," Davis said.
The Defense Department confirmed the United States is sending a dozen A-10 air-to-ground attack aircraft and a dozen mixed F15Cs and F15Es with air-to-air and air-to-ground capabilities.
"If Russia will respect Turkish air sovereignty then there is not an issue, and we would hope that they would do that," he said.
In early October, both NATO and Turkey accused Russia of violating Turkish airspace intentionally. Russian officials explained the incident was accidental and came as a result of poor weather conditions.
As a NATO member, the United States has maintained an air defense agreement with Turkey called Operation Active Fence.
At the end of October, the United States withdrew Patriot missile batteries from Turkey that had been deployed as part of Active Fence. At the time, the Defense Department noted that it was looking into other options to assist Turkey’s air defense.