Despite frosty relations, the United States continues
to invest in maintaining its military presence in Turkey.
The Defense Department has awarded contracts to U.S. firms to support a
military presence in several Turkish bases.
The Pentagon was angered by Turkey's refusal to allow a northern front
in the war against Iraq. The United States had sought to deploy up to 60,000
troops for a long-term presence in Turkey.
In April, the U.S. military withdrew about 50 combat aircraft and more
than 1,000 air force personnel from the Incerlik air base, Middle East Newsline reported.
Incerlik served as the headquarters for Northern Watch, which enforced the no-fly zone in
northern Iraq during the last decade of the regime of President Saddam
The U.S. military presence is part of the NATO force in Turkey that officials said has not been affected
by the downturn in relations between Ankara and Washington.
The Pentagon has signaled its determination to maintain the U.S.
presence in Turkey connected to the NATO force. The department awarded a
$22.8 million contract to Vinnell-Kellogg Brown and Root, based in Fairfax,
Officials said the contract is meant to provide base operation and
maintenance services at Incirlik, Izmir and Ankara. They said these services
would include program management, civil engineering and transportation, such
as vehicle operations and maintenance.
Under the contract, Veinnel-Kellogg would also be required to provide
contingency and exercise support. A Pentagon statement said the contractor
will perform the majority of work in government-furnished facilities located
at Incirlik Air Base and Izmir and Ankara, Turkey.
The contract is expected to be completed by September 2009. The
statement said solicitation began November 2002.
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