A group of lawyers loyal to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has filed a legal suit against US officials tied to the strategic Incirlik strategic air base in Turkey for alleged links to terrorists.
Turkish lawyers from the Association for Justice and Social Assistance supporting President Erdogan, want to temporarily stop all operations at the Incirlik base to execute a search warrant, the American military newspaper Stars and Stripes said on Wednesday.
The criminal complaint says dozens of top US officials are linked to Fethullah Gülen, an Islamic cleric who lives in the United States and who, according to Erdogan, was instrumental in attempting to blow up his government in 2016 in a coup d’etat.
The lawyers’ case seeks to arrest Col. John Walker, Col. Michael Manion, Col. David Eaglen, Col. David Trucksa, Lt. Col. Timothy Cook, Lt. Col. Mack Coker, and Sgts. Thomas Cooper and Vegas Clark. General Joseph Votel, head of the US Central Command, is also mentioned in the complaint.
According to Turkish journalists from the Stockholm Freedom Center, this lawsuit is a form of retaliation against Washington’s decision to impose sanctions on two Erdogan cabinet officials: Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu and the minister of Justice, Abdulhamit Gul.
A spokeswoman for the US Air Force presence at Incirlik’s base attempted to avoid commenting on the situation, declaring only: “We continue to fulfill our mission here at Incirlik Air Base, and we are proud of the relationship we have with our military partners, the Turks.”
Professor of the Faculty of International Relations of the University of Ankara, Hasan Unal, has stressed that the present crisis in US-Turkey relations is inevitable because the US has treated Turkey not as an ally but as a colony since the beginning of the Cold War.
According to Unal, for Turkish stances to be strengthened, Ankara must tighten its relations with Syria, Egypt and Israel, and strive to pursue policies independent of Washington’s diktat.