Turkey ready to work with Russia in fight against ISIS, but no mention of Incirlik base – Ankara

Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu. © David Mdzinarishvili
The Turkish foreign minister has said Ankara would cooperate with any country in the fight against the Islamic State terror group, including Russia, but stressed that he did not intend to offer Incirlik airbase for use by the Russian Air Force.

Earlier on Monday, news agencies cited Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu as telling national TV channel TRT that Ankara would cooperate with “everybody who is fighting Islamic State [IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL].”

“Ankara has opened the Incirlik airbase to all those wishing to join the active fight. Why not cooperate with Russia in the same manner?” Cavusoglu said.

Several hours later Cavusoglu denied mentioning Russia’s possible presence at Incirlik.

“I did not make such a comment. We said that we could cooperate with everyone in the fight against ISIS," Reuters quoted Cavusoglu as saying in comments broadcast live on television.

“We said that we could cooperate with Russia in the period ahead in the fight against Daesh [Islamic State]. I did not make any comment referring to Russian planes coming to the Incirlik airbase,” Cavusoglu said, as cited by Reuters.

The Russian and Turkish special services are yet to revive channels for sharing information between intelligence agencies, which have been inactive for some time, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, adding that the time has come for them to be “reloaded” and made fully-functional again.

Peskov made the point that to his knowledge, the Russian and Turkish militaries have not yet resumed official communication.

Commenting on allegations that Russian citizens could have been involved in performing the terror acts that struck Istanbul’s international airport last week, Peskov said this serves as yet more proof of how important the contact between the security services is, and shows that the information they exchange must be reacted to in the proper way.

Peskov said that Russian security services informed their European colleagues about those who are now suspected of staging the terror attacks in Turkey, and that the terror suspects had visited a number of European states, as well as Turkey.