Turkey may close Incirlik, Kurecik bases 'if necessary'

Mon 16 Dec 2019 08:26 GMT | 12:26 Local Time

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Sunday that Ankara may close two bases in Turkey where U.S. soldiers are stationed "if necessary", Anadolu Agency reported.

"If necessary, we will hold discussions with all our delegations, and if necessary, we may close Incirlik [air base in southern Adana province] and Kurecik [radar station in eastern Malatya province]," Erdogan said in a televised interview.

Speaking about a resolution passed in the U.S. Senate on Armenian allegations over the events of 1915, Erdogan said the bill was "completely political," adding: "It is very important for both sides that the U.S. does not take irreparable steps in our relations."

"We regret that the polarization in U.S. domestic politics has had negative consequences for us and that some groups abuse developments about our country for their own interests in order to weaken [President Donald] Trump," Erdogan added.

“We are not going to stand empty-handed. Let me say very clearly and openly: Is it possible to speak about America without mentioning Indians? It is a shameful moment in U.S. history. Similar things happened in Africa. Is it possible to put aside the French massacres in Rwanda, Algeria?

“They did slave trade in cells from Senegal to America. What will we do to explain these to the international community? We have documents in our archive. We will reveal that the history of the West is the history of racism and colonialism. While all these massacres and genocides are standing, they cannot say anything to the nation which has a proud history like us,” said Erdogan.

On Thursday, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed a resolution recognizing Armenian claims on the events that transpired in 1915.

Turkey's position on the events of 1915 is that the deaths of Armenians in eastern Anatolia took place when some sided with invading Russians and revolted against Ottoman forces. A subsequent relocation of Armenians resulted in numerous casualties.

Turkey objects to the presentation of the incidents as "genocide" but describes the events as a tragedy in which both sides suffered casualties.

Ankara has repeatedly proposed the creation of a joint commission of historians from Turkey and Armenia plus international experts to examine the issue.

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