Turkey is in talks with the United States to provide a base for a fleet of US Predator drones now stationed in Iraq, Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc said on Monday.
On Sunday, the Washington Post reported the US government was considering a request from Turkey for a fleet of surveillance drones to be based in Turkey to carry out operations against Kurdish separatists based in northern Iraq. Citing unnamed senior US military officials, the newspaper said Washington had not yet made a decision on the request.
"We know that Turkey needs to use unmanned aerial vehicles for intelligence purposes. In order to obtain these Predators in Turkey, I know the foreign ministry is working on this," Arinc told a news conference when asked about the report. "This has not yet been concluded," he added.
According to the Washington Post, the US military has flown unarmed surveillance Predators above northern Iraq since 2007 and has shared images with Turkey as part of "a secretive joint crackdown" on Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) rebels.