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ANKARA, Turkey, Nov 6, (Agencies): The US military says it has deployed six F-15C jets to Turkey’s southern Incirlik air base to help defend Turkish airspace against potential intruders.
The deployment of the air-to-air combat planes, announced Friday, comes after two Russian warplanes active in Syria strayed into Turkish airspace last month, triggering protests from Turkey and its NATO allies.
The deployment sends a message of NATO’s resolve to protect its members following the Russian warplane’s intrusion. A US-European command statement said the deployment was in response to Turkey’s request for support in securing its airspace. It said the deployment was a “demonstration of our unwavering support for Turkish sovereignty and the collective security of the region.”
Meanwhile, Turkish police detained 20 people suspected of links to Islamic State in its southwestern province of Antalya on Friday, a week before a seaside resort there hosts a G20 summit of world leaders, media reports said.
The arrests were part of a series of police operations against suspected Islamic State members across Turkey, a major conduit for militants crossing into neighbouring Syria. Local police declined to comment but footage aired by broadcaster CNN Turk showed officers escorting suspects in handcuffs into police headquarters in Antalya, a major tourist resort area on the Mediterranean coast. Turkey is imposing tight security ahead of the Nov 15-16 summit.
It will be held in a beach resort away from the centre of Antalya city, with some 11,000 police officers on duty to assure security. Anti-terror police carried out simultaneous raids in three districts of Antalya early on Friday, finding what they described as Islamic State materials, with two of those detained Russian and two of them women, Ihlas news agency said.