Turkey and the United States have finalized a bilateral agreement to provide a framework for the latter’s aircraft to conduct combat air patrol missions in Turkish airspace, amid ongoing tension between Ankara and Moscow over the downing of a Russian warplane last month.

“We finalized a bilateral agreement Friday [Dec. 11] with Turkey outlining procedures for combat air patrol missions in Turkish airspace. This enduring agreement provides a framework for our aircraft to support air defense missions in Turkey if/when called upon, either with these air frames or others in the future,” Lt. Cheryl Collins from EUCOM (United States European Command) Public Affairs said in a written statement to the Hürriyet Daily News on Dec. 16.

“With the agreement in place, we began this past weekend flying combat air patrol missions,” she added. The Daily News learned from diplomatic sources that the bilateral agreement was a military-to-military deal. […]