GeriGündem Turkish army says no demands yet from U.S. for local military base
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Turkish army says no demands yet from U.S. for local military base

Turkish army says no demands yet from U.S. for local military base
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The U.S. has not knocked on Turkey's door to set up a military base on the Black Sea coast after the Kyrgyzstan decision to close a key base for Afghanistan operations, a spokesman for the Turkish army said Friday.

Recent media reports have suggested that the U.S. may look at setting up a military base in the Turkish city of Trabzon as an alternative to the Manas base in Kyrgyzstan which is due to close later this year.

"There is no such demand as yet," military spokesman Brig. Gen. Metin Gurak told a weekly press briefing.

Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev signed into law on Friday the closure of the Manas air base outside the Kyrgyz capital, a key U.S. military supply base for Afghanistan, making good on a decision that shocked Washington.

 

Bakiyev’s announcement last month for the closure came after Russia offered more than $2 billion in aid to the struggling Kyrgyz economy. The government has insisted that Moscow did not set the closure as a condition.

 

The U.S. Air Force has been deployed at an airbase in Turkey's southern city of Incirlik since the signing of a joint agreement in 1954. The NATO base is currently home to the United States' 39th Air Base Wing and some 5,000 U.S. service personnel.

 

Gurak also said the number of the Turkish troops could increase in Afghanistan, in line with the handover of the command of the Kabul Area Command to Turkey in August.

 

Foreign policy experts here suggest that U.S. President Barack Obama may have asked for more Turkish troops or other Turkish contributions in Afghanistan during separate phone conversations he had with Turkish President Abdullah Gul and Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan earlier this week.

 

Turkey currently has some 800 troops serving with NATO forces in Afghanistan, most of who are based in the capital, Kabul. Having the second biggest army within NATO and as the only Muslim country in the alliance, Turkey is uniquely placed to help.

 

 

 

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