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  • Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened to shut down two strategic military bases used by the United States.

    Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened to shut down two strategic military bases used by the United States. | Photo: Reuters

Published 16 December 2019
Opinion

“If the threat of sanctions is implemented against us, we’ll respond to them in the framework of reciprocity,” Erdogan said.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened Sunday to shut down two strategic military bases used by the United States if Washington imposes sanctions on Turkey for buying the S-400 Russian missile system.

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“If necessary, we’ll close Incirlik and also Kurecik,” Erdogan said in a televised interview, in a reference to the bases located in the southern part of the country, close to the border with Syria, adding that “if the threat of sanctions is implemented against us, we’ll respond to them in the framework of reciprocity.”

Incirlik, located in southern Turkey, is an airbase that has played a major role in U.S. military operations in the Middle East and Afghanistan, and against the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq. The base, key to North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), also has around 50 B-61 gravity nuclear bombs in storage.

While Kurecik, in south-eastern Turkey, houses a key NATO radar station.

Announcements to shut down the bases have been made in the past and Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu referred to the issue last week, warning that their closure could be “put on the table” in the face of sanctions and a separate U.S. Senate resolution that recognized mass killings of Armenians a century ago as genocide. 

U.S. President Donald Trump does not have to sign it as it's a non-binding resolution. 

A U.S. Senate committee backed last weed legislation to impose sanctions on Turkey after its offensive in the north of Syria and its move to purchase a Russian S-400 missile system.

To become law, the legislation would have to pass the House of Representatives, which passed its own Turkish sanctions bill by an overwhelming 403-16 vote in October and be signed by Trump.

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