DOD closes school at Turkey base and orders 670 military dependents to leave, due to increased ISIS threat

Master Sgt. Sam Peters, 39th Security Forces Squadron NCO in-charge of installation security, acts as an entry controller during a wing exercise Jan. 15, 2016, at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. The exercise tested security forces ability to respond to insider threats and to practice convoy operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Krystal Ardrey/Released)

Hundreds of military and civilian dependents have been ordered to  leave Turkey, in light of the increased threat by ISIS.

670 dependents in three specific areas will be affected by Tuesday’s announcement.  There are 770 in the region overall, Pentagon officials said.

The evacuation order comes amid ongoing threats concerning possible ISIS attacks. This order came from General Philip Breedlove, the  Supreme Allied Commander Europe of NATO Allied Command Operations.  Breedlove says the decision was made “in consultation with the Government of Turkey, our State Department, and our Secretary of Defense.”

“We understand this is disruptive to our military families, but we must keep them safe and ensure the combat effectiveness of our forces to support our strong ally Turkey in the fight against terrorism,” Breedlove said.

Incirlik Air Base, in southern Turkey, has seen increased activity in recent days with  heavy US cargo planes and F-16’s conducting bombing runs and airstrikes inside Syria — hitting targets that the US has been looking at for a long time.

Incirlik continues to play a key role in counter-ISIL operations. The mission of the 39th Air Base Wing, which is stationed at Incirlik Air Base, is to “support and protect United States and NATO assets and people throughout Turkey.”

It takes just 15 minutes from there to Syrian airspace – so the fighter jets can increase their  tempo and efficiency, with  less time to refuel and reload planes, making it easier to respond to opportunities while in the air.

“I believe that the determination has been made that the threat level has increased,” said Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook.

Mr. Cook answered questions this afternoon during a press briefing at the Pentagon. He said DOD dependents at Incirlik — as well as those from facilities in Izmir and Mugla– are affected.

CNN’s Barbara Starr asked Cook why the school on base was given threat level “Delta” which means “imminent attack”– to which Cook responded that steps were made out of an “abundance of caution” but that he was not aware of any specific threat.

The State Dept is also ordering the departure of family members of staff at the US consulate in Adana– a major city in southern Turkey. Those family members, who also work at the diplomatic post, are excluded.

The State Department also re-issued its travel warning for Turkey, stating that, “The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens of increased threats from terrorist groups throughout Turkey and to avoid travel to southeastern Turkey.”

Official travel by staff in Turkey has now been restricted to “mission-critical movement” only, CNN reports.

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  • Michele graduated with a B.S. in Telecommunication from the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications. She has spent numerous years working in the news industry in south Florida, including many positions ranging from being a news writer at WSVN, the Fox affiliate in Miami to being an associate news producer at WPLG-TV, the ABC affiliate in Miami. Michele has also worked in Public Relations and Marketing.

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