Citing operational security, the White House declined to confirm the agreement, but noted that President Barack Obama and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had agreed to “deepen our cooperation” against ISIS in their phone call Wednesday.
For the Pentagon, the Turkish decision is huge because the two air bases are so much closer to the Syrian border than Iraq, Kuwait, Jordan and the Persian Gulf, where strikes had been launched up to now.
The airstrikes come a day after a gunfight with IS militants across the border in Syria left one Turkish soldier dead and two other injured.
Turkey has long been a reluctant partner in the US-led coalition against IS, emphasising instead the need to oust Syrian President Bashar Al Assad and saying Syrian Kurdish forces also pose a grave security threat.
“Many people in Turkey mistrust AKP [the ruling party] motives in bombing IS [Isis] targets and do not believe they are honest in their clampdown on jihadists within Turkey“.
One wild guess is that the ones who will come out with the short straw at the end of the day are the Kurds.
But one senior official told Reuters: “This morning’s airstrike and operation against terrorist groups domestically are steps taken as preventive measures against a possible attack against Turkey from within or from outside…”
Turkish police on Friday launched a major operation against terror groups including IS, carrying out simultaneous raids in Istanbul and 12 provinces and detaining more than 290 people.
The predawn attacks by F-16 fighter jets occurred after Turkey also agreed to allow the United States to use the US-Turkish Incirlik air base, broadening US abilities to strike Islamic State targets, a US defence official said Thursday. He spoke on condition of anonymity in line with government regulations that bar civil servants from speaking to reporters without authorization.
TRT said the planes did not violate Syrian airspace.
Earlier on Thursday it fired tank shells across the frontier after fire from Islamic State militants killed a Turkish soldier near Kilis, an area where Ankara had recently sent reinforcements.
The Dogan news agency said that 140 addresses were raided in 26 districts in Istanbul, in an operation involving about 5 000 police.
CHP deputies submitted another motion on Wednesday, proposed three days mourning for the 32 people killed in the Suruc bomb attack in southern Turkey as a sign of national unity.
The agreement comes after months of negotiations between Ankara and Washington.
Kurdish militants said they killed two police officers in the city of Celanpinar as retaliation, accusing the policemen of having collaborated with IS.
Whether this will pay dividends to the US war remains to be seen, but it will likely add to the interest in ISIS attacking Turkish order regions. Asked Friday about the accord, Davutoglu said an agreement that takes Turkey’s concerns into account had been reached, but did not elaborate.