Pentagon pushes back on claim that US to leave Turkey’s Incirlik base
Senator Ron Johnson said the United States is considering basing more forces on Crete as relations with Turkey deteriorate.
A Pentagon spokesman pushed back on Tuesday on a claim by US Senator Ron Johnson that officials in Washington are considering a withdrawal of US forces from the Incirlik airbase in Turkey and looking to the Greek island of Crete as an alternative.
US Army Lt. Col. Thomas Campbell told the Anadolu Agency that the Pentagon “has no plans to end our presence at Incirlik airbase.”
Johnson told The Washington Examiner on Friday that US officials were considering shifting forces to Souda Bay on Crete, where the US Navy maintains a presence at the deep-water NATO port.
“We don’t know what’s gonna happen to Incirlik,” Johnson, a Republican of Wisconsin, said last week. “We hope for the best, but we have to plan for the worst.”
“I don’t think we want to make that strategic shift, but I think, from a defensive posture, I think we have to look at the reality of the situation that the path that Erdogan is on is not good,” he told The Examiner.
The lawmaker called Erdogan’s policies “disturbing,” saying they are among the reasons the United States is “beefing up” its presence on Crete, “because our presence, quite honestly, in Turkey is certainly threatened.”