INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey --
The Defense and Economic Cooperation Agreement team arrived Oct. 30 and conducted their 37th annual visit through Nov. 1.
The DECA is an international arrangement between the Turkish and U.S. governments.
The agreement outlines various responsibilities that strengthen the mutual security cooperation between the two governments with the framework of NATO.
“The team’s focus is to verify that activities on Incirlik are in accordance with the DECA,” said Mehmet Birbiri, 39th Air Base Wing Public Affairs host nation advisor. “They ensure that, as allies, we are operating smoothly.”
The team is comprised of representatives from the Turkish General Staff, Turkish Ministries of Foreign Affairs; Interior, Labor, Environment and Customs directorate, as well as from the U.S. Office of Defense Cooperation and the U.S. Embassy.
The team visits Incirlik and its geographically-separated units annually, and within the last year, the 39th ABW and 10th Tanker Base Command have seen improvements on some issues.
"Over the past year, we have continued to strengthen our relationship with our 10th Tanker Base Command counterparts,“ said Capt. Lindsay Cronin, 39th Air Base Wing DECA inspection coordinator. “The DECA inspection provides an opportunity to showcase our strong working relationship and to discuss items of mutual concern.”
United States and Turkish forces continue to work together in many aspects on Incirlik to enhance cooperation and strengthen mutual defense.
“Each year a list of action items is compiled, and different working groups examine the progress made on these items. This inspection enables us to continue the successful relationship the two sides have enjoyed for more than 60 years. It is truly a team effort between the United States and Turkey," said Capt. Cronin.
Once the visit is complete, a written report is produced. Although some opportunities for improvement highlighted in the report can be addressed at base-level, others may require policy-level changes.
As the U.S. Air Force and Turkish Air Force continue to work jointly to ensure freedom’s future, the days ahead look bright for the interoperability of both air forces.
"The DECA visit helps keep lines of communication open while offering an opportunity to build new relationships and enhance our existing partnership with the TurAF,” said Col. David Eaglin, 39th Air Base Wing commander. “Turkey has been a longtime NATO ally and the DECA process is an excellent way to manage our associations as we continue to work toward mission success together.”