Turkey okays US request to use air base

May 01 2005

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ANKARA, April 30: Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer has approved a government decree allowing the United States to use a key military base in the south of the country as a logistical cargo hub for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Mr Sezer’s approval on Friday brought to an end months of negotiations between the two countries amid bilateral tensions stemming from differences over Iraq and constituted another step towards improving strained ties.

The details of the deal were not disclosed, but US officials here earlier said they had requested permission to fly in “non-lethal” logistical material to Incirlik air base in southern Adana on civilian cargo planes and redistribute the goods to Iraq and Afghanistan on military aircraft.

The cargo flights would not carry any troops, ammunition, or personnel, but only supplies and equipment to support forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The United States was also requesting blanket clearance for planes landing and taking off from the base, officials said. The deal will not require the approval of the Turkish parliament, as it will fall under the scope of an earlier government decision allowing countries involved in operations in Iraq and Afghanistan to use Turkish transportation facilities for logistical and humanitarian purposes. —AFP