US military boosts security to ‘highest level’ at bases in Turkey

July 16, 2016 6:48 pm

This August 9, 2015 Air Force
handout photo shows F-16 Fighting Falcons as they arrive at Incirlik Air
Base, . (Via AFP)

The US increased
security at bases it uses across Turkey to the highest level during a
coup attempt against the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

US
force protection was elevated to level “Delta” on Friday night, which
is used when there is a terrorist attack, a Pentagon official told the Washington Post on condition of anonymity.
The
official, however, said the US military has not received any request
from the State Department to reinforce its diplomatic facilities in
Turkey, including the embassy in Ankara and consulates in Istanbul and
Adana.
Late on Friday night, a faction of the armed forces used
tanks and attack helicopters in an ill-fated attempt to seize power from
President Erdogan and Prime Minister Binali Yildirim.
Erdogan and
Yildirim, however, appeared on television soon after the coup was
launched, declaring an early end to the attempt. At least 160 people
were killed in the violence, including many civilians.
The coup attempt raised questions about whether it would have an impact on the ongoing US military campaign in Iraq and Syria.
The
Pentagon has increasingly relied on Turkish military bases as launch
points for operations against purported Daesh (ISIL) positions.
In
particular, the joint US-Turkish Incirlik Air Base in southern Turkey,
which houses about 1,500 American troops and personnel, plays a direct
role in the military offensive.
“As of this time, there has been
no impact to Incirlik Air Base and counter-ISIL air operations from
Incirlik continue,” a senior defense official said in a statement.
Turkey
has long been the key point of transit for Daesh militants moving in
and out of Syria. It is also accused of helping militant groups fighting
the Syrian government.

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