Turkey will not permit the U.S. to use its air bases for strikes against IS
Turkey is reluctant to take a stronger role in the coalition against IS militants in fear of aggravating a hostage situation. (AFP/File)
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Turkish government says it will not allow a US-led military coalition to use its air bases in order to launch attacks on IS terrorists’ hideouts in neighboring Iraq and Syria.
A government official said Ankara can open the Incirlik Air Base in the south only for logistical and humanitarian operations, and not for any airstrikes.
“Turkey will not be involved in any armed operation but will entirely concentrate on humanitarian operations," media outlets quoted the unnamed official as saying.
Turkey is reluctant to take a stronger role in the coalition against IS militants in fear of aggravating a hostage situation.
IS militants have held hostage 49 Turkish nationals, including diplomats and children, since June. They were abducted from the Turkish consulate in Mosul.
"Our hands and arms are tied because of the hostages," the official noted.
Back in 2003, Turkey refused to let Washington put US boots in the country to invade Iraq from the north. This triggered a crisis between the two allies at the time.
The latest developments come as US and European officials have voiced concern that militants in Syria and Iraq may bite the hand that feeds them.
The brutal beheadings of American journalists by IS are the latest and most shocking example of foreign militants threatening western interests.