Fleet of U.S. drones now based in Turkey

U.S. Predator drone

From Greg Jaffe, Checkpoint Washington:  The U.S. military has begun flying unarmed Predator drones out of a Turkish air base as part of a joint Turkish-American counterterrorism operation in northern Iraq, according to a senior defense official.

U.S. forces have been flying the drones from Iraqi bases since 2007 and have regularly shared the surveillance video with the Turkish government, which is concerned about attacks from the Kurdistan Worker’s Party, or PKK, based in northern Iraq.

But with U.S. troops scheduled to leave Iraq by year’s end — not counting a small contingent being left behind to guard the American Embassy — officials were forced to consider Turkey’s request to house the drones. . . .

Turkey’s foreign minister told reporters in Ankara on Saturday that the flight route of the drones would be controlled by the Turkish military. Pentagon officials declined to comment on the details of the arrangement between the two countries.  (photo: Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP)

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