Thousands protesting outside US Air Base in Turkey, DoD can’t confirm dependents evacuated

Thousands of Turkish nationals were protesting, shouting curses at America and burning American flags outside the US military air base at Incirlik yesterday, expressing their desire for Turkey to close the installation and expel the US military.

The US military maintains an air base at the Turkish installation, which serves as a hub for combat aircraft conducting air strikes against ISIS in Iraq and Syria. In addition, a US nuclear arsenal is rumored to be there.

The 3,000-strong US force there was placed on high alert last week after a faction of secular Turkish military officers tried to overthrow President Erdogan’s government, which has begun to show sympathies to Islamic ideologies in recent years. After the failure of the coup, over 13,000 people with seats in various institutions were rounded up.

During the coup, the power was cut off to the base, forcing the installation to run on limited generator power until earlier this week.

When asked if US Military dependents have been fully evacuated from Incirlik, DoD press secretary Peter Cook was only able to confirm that “a vast majority have left the base,” during a press briefing this afternoon.

While fears are rising that US-Turkey relations may be strained, Cook said that Secretary Carter has confirmed with his Turkish counterpart that the partnership between Turkey and the coalition against ISIS has not diminished.

“We cannot fly out of Incirlik with our the active participation of Turkey,” said Cook.

Since the coup, operations at Incirlik have returned to normal and Pentagon spokeswoman Henrietta Levin said that military officials at Incirlik were aware of the planned demonstration outside the base.

“It did not impact operations at Incirlik,” Levin said on Thursday.

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  • Andy Wolf

    Andy Wolf is an Appalachian native who spent much of his youth and young adulthood overseas in search of combat, riches, and adventure- accruing decades of experience in military, corporate, first responder, journalistic and advisory roles. He resides in North Carolina's Blue Ridge Mountains with his K9 companion, Kiki.

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