Saturday, July 16, 2016

U.S. Troops at Turkish Air Base on Highest Force Protection Level

Following the failed coup in Turkey on Friday night, the US embassy in Turkey says the Incirlik air base has been placed in lockdown. The base is used by the US-led coalition, including Germany, to launch airstrikes against "Islamic State."
A message on the website of the US consulate in Adana reported on Saturday that "local authorities were denying movements [onto] and off of Incirlik air base." According to Deutsche Welt the State Department advised US citizens to avoid the facility until normal operations could be restored.

The sealing-off of the facility, which houses up to 80 nuclear bombs, follows a a failed coup attempt by a faction within Turkey's military.

It is not yet clear whether aircraft from the base were hijacked by coup plotters during the night of chaos. According to Turkish government officials, US jets were used to attack key buildings, including the parliament building in Ankara.
A US Defense Department official told Agence France-Presse that military operations against Islamic State had been suspended due to the lockdown and a closure of Turkish airspace to military aircraft.

The base is used mostly by the US, Turkish, UK and Saudi air forces. Germany also has around 400 ground troops stationed at the facility.

Earlier this month, German MPs were prevented from visiting the base as Turkey's President Erdogan tried to exert pressure on Angela Merkel to speed up the Islamic nation's accession to the EU, a move which has strained relations between Berlin and Ankara.

Also on Saturday, the US State Department warned American citizens against taking part in pro-Erdogan demonstrations in the city of Adana, amid fears of violence. Adana is just 10 kilometers (6 miles) from the Incirlik air base.

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