“In what may prove a turning point in the fight against Islamic State (Isis), Turkey has struck a military and security cooperation pact with the US that could greatly enhance the effectiveness of coalition air strikes,” The Guardian reports.
“[T]he new understanding with Washington may go much further than simply allowing US (and British) use of the Incirlik airbase in Adana from early August. Incirlik will give coalition aircraft a huge advantage. Instead of flying 2,000km from bases and carriers in the Gulf, they will now be within 400km range of Raqqa, the Isis headquarters in Syria, giving them much greater operational flexibility and scope.”
“But Turkish reports suggest the agreement also covers the ’emergency’ use by allied aircraft of other Turkish airbases, including those in the south-eastern provinces of Batman, Diyarbakır and Malatya, plus more general permission to use Turkish airspace. It seems another longstanding US proposal, to fly armed or surveillance drones out of Turkey, has also been accepted.”