On Thursday Aug. 21, 2014, a U.S. Air Force F-15 requested an emergency landing in Turkey. It had been hit in its hydraulic systems during operations against the forces of the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) and was in no condition to reach as far as its original base in Qatar.

Permission was granted by the Turkish General Staff to use the Batman air base in southeast Turkey, near the Iraqi border. Turkish F-16s escorted the U.S. plane for the Batman landing. For the repairs, a U.S. team of technicians relocated to Batman from the İncirlik air base near Adana, in southern Turkey, for a few days. The American jet then took off for Qatar, again escorted by Turkish F-16s until reaching the Turkish-Iraqi border.

A Turkish official source, who told me about the incident on condition of anonymity, underlined that permission was only granted because the life of a pilot was in danger and also out of solidarity between NATO members. “Otherwise,” the source said, “Turkey is keen not to take part in any active military operation in the region for the time being. But İncirlik is available for use for humanitarian and logistical operations within the struggle against ISIL.” […]