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Monday, March 28, 2011     INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING

NATO bases no-fly zone mission at Izmir, Turkey

ANKARA — NATO has selected Turkey as the alliance's base for the no-fly zone mission in Libya.


Officials said NATO has informed Ankara that a Turkish military base would host the no-fly zone mission in Libya. They identified the base as Izmir in the Aegean region of Turkey.

"Izmir is the most suitable air base for a NATO operation in the Mediterranean,” a Turkish diplomat said.

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Turkey has already pledged to deploy a naval force for Libya. Officials said Ankara could contribute F-16 multi-role fighters as well as an air tanker now deployed at the air base in Konya, Middle East Newsline reported.

On March 24, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Ankara would join the NATO mission in Libya. Davutoglu said NATO has resolved all of Turkey's concerns regarding combat missions around the North African state.

Officials said Izmir would serve as one of two NATO headquarters for the Libyan mission. The other headquarters was in Larissa, Greece.

Izmir required about 48 hours to prepare to host the NATO mission. Officials said a Turkish officer could be appointed a commander of Izmir.

"We have made it clear since the very beginning that an operation should be launched under a single command," a Turkish diplomatic source said. "We have asked that the coalition forces halt the air assaults and NATO implement the no-fly zone on Libya."

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