AFP reports: Turkey will refuse to allow a U.S.-led coalition to attack jihadists in neighboring Iraq and Syria from its air bases, nor will it take part in combat operations against militants, a government official told Agence France Presse Thursday.
“Turkey will not be involved in any armed operation but will entirely concentrate on humanitarian operations,” the official said on condition of anonymity.
The decision echoes the country’s refusal to allow the U.S. to station 60,000 troops in Turkey in 2003 to invade Iraq from the north, which triggered a crisis between the two allies.
Ankara then also refused Washington permission to use its air bases to attack Saddam Hussein’s regime.
Turkey has come under fire by some critics for indirectly encouraging the formation of the Islamic State because of its support of Islamist opponents of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, and its loose control of its borders.
But Ankara vehemently denies its strategy has backfired. [Continue reading…]