Turkish Planes Will Join Air Battle Against ISIS

Turkish aircraft will soon be flying alongside coalition jets in the fight against ISIS, Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook said Aug. 25. The US and Turkey have finalized the necessary technical details to integrate Turkey into the coalition air tasking order, Cook said. That’s a “significant step forward, one we’ve been waiting for,” he added. It may take a few days before the Turkish air strikes on ISIS begin, he said, but the US believes that “Turkey is committed to fully participating as soon as possible.” Turkey has already allowed the deployment of US F-16s to Incirlik Air Base, which has made the fighters more effective than if they had to fly from another location, the Chief of Staff for Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve said Aug. 21. Cook said talks continue with Turkey on other ways to fight ISIS, and the expansion of cooperation between the US and Turkey “remains a work in progress.” The announcement comes less than a week after Defense Secretary Ash Carter said in a Pentagon press briefing that Turkey must do more in the fight against ISIS.