Turkish Leader Threatens To Close Key U.S. Base If Sanctions Imposed

Turkey’s president threatened to close a key U.S. air base if Washington imposes sanctions in response to Turkey’s purchase of a Russia antiaircraft system.

The threat by Recep Tayyip Erdogan, made December 15 in an interview with A Haber TV, was the latest sign of worsening relations between Ankara and Washington.

Turkey’s Incirlik Air Base has been a strategic facility for U.S. and NATO forces for decades.

It wasn’t immediately clear how much Erdogan’s threat was bluster or a genuine signal of his intentions.

Ties between Turkey and the United States have worsened since an attempted coup in 2016, which Erdogan has blamed on a Turkish businessman living in exile in the United States.

Relations worsened further when Erdogan said he would move to buy an advanced S-400 missile system from Russia. Washington has said the system poses a threat to U.S. F-35 jets that use Incirlik.

And the move by Turkish armed forces to enter Syria in October, targeting U.S.-allied Kurdish forces there, has prompted vocal opposition from both Republicans and Democrats in Congress.

Last week, a U.S. Senate committee backed legislation to impose sanctions on Turkey for the S-400 missiles, and other things.

U.S. President Donald Trump’s criticism of Erdogan has been largely muted, to the dismay of many U.S. lawmakers.

Based on reporting by Reuters, TASS
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