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Turkey Hints at Barring US From Bases  12/11 06:29

   ANKARA, Turkey (AP) -- Turkey's foreign minister suggested Wednesday that 
the United States could be barred from using two strategic air bases in 
retaliation to possible U.S. sanctions against his country, the state-run 
Anadolu Agency reported.

   Mevlut Cavusoglu comments came amid reports that U.S. lawmakers had agreed 
on a defense bill that also includes calls to sanction Turkey over its decision 
to proceed with the purchase and deployment of Russian-made S-400 missile 
defense systems. 

   "In the event of a decision to sanction Turkey, the Incirlik and Kurecik 
airbases can be brought to the agenda," Anadolu quoted Cavusoglu as saying. 

   He said: "Congress members must understand that it is not possible to get 
anywhere with sanctions."

   Incirlik airbase in southern Turkey has been a main base for U.S. operations 
in the Middle East and more recently in the fight against the Islamic State 
group in Syria and Iraq, while Kurecik, in eastern Turkey, is a key NATO base.

   Turkey's decision to proceed with the purchase of the Russian system has 
added to growing tensions between the two NATO allies. Washington says the 
Russian system poses a threat to NATO and has removed Turkey from the U.S.-led 
F-35 stealth fighter jet program.

   Tensions were raised further after Turkey launched an incursion into 
northeastern Syria to drive away Syrian Kurdish forces that had partnered with 
the U.S. in the fight against the Islamic State group. Turkey considers the 
Kurdish fighters as terrorists because of their links to outlawed Kurdish 
rebels fighting inside Turkey.


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