Vital US airbase in Turkey shut down, power cut

Incirlik air base in Turkey has been placed on "Condition Delta" - the highest level of force protection as the Turkish government cut power to the base and is preventing any flights from taking off or landing.

The 2200 US military personnel at the base - along with 90 nuclear weapons - are now, essentially, hostages of the Turkish government.

President Erdogan has demanded that the US extradite Islamic scholar Fethullah Gulen, who lives in Pennsylvania. The Turkish government claims that Gulen is the ringleader of the coup.

The demand to turn over Gulen and the closing of the air base appear to be connected. Since Incirlik is vital to the air war against ISIS, the US will probably acquiesce and hand over Gulen - even though the Turkish government has yet to offer any proof whatsoever that he had anything to do with the coup.

ABC News:

U.S. troops at Turkey’s Incirlik air base were at the highest force protection level, known as "condition Delta," after power was cut off at the base and the Turkish government closed the airspace around the site in the hours following a foiled military coup attempt, a U.S. official told ABC News today.

Turkish officials told ABC News they believe Turkish planes docked at Incirlik Air Base took part in Friday night's coup attempt, which is why the airspace is locked down.

Turkey allows the United States to use the air base for operations associated with its air campaign against ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

There are 2,200 U.S. personnel in Turkey, including 1,500 stationed at Incirlik.

A Pentagon spokesman said the loss of commercial power to Incirlik has not affected operations because the U.S. facilities there are operating on internal power sources. U.S. officials are working with their Turkish counterparts to resume air operations at the air base. All U.S. government personnel in Turkey appear safe and secure, he added.

"Turkish government has closed its airspace to military aircraft, and as a result air operations at Incirlik Air Base have been halted at this time," Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook told ABC News. "In the meantime, U.S. Central Command is adjusting flight operations in the counter-ISIL campaign to minimize any effects on the campaign."

A member of Erdogan's cabinet, Süleyman Soylu, Turkey's minister of Labor, has gone so far as to accuse the US government of being behind the coup:

It's doubtful the US would have actively supported the coup attempt. We may not have control over Turkish planes parked at the air base, so it's possible that some of them were used in the coup attempt without US support.

Or, the Turkish government is making the whole thing up.

The round up of suspected coup participants is proceeding as expected. Erdogan is taking advantage of the crisis to arrest regime opponents who almost certainly had nothing to do with the military plot. More than 6,000 people have been arrested so far. Estimates of the number of Turkish military personnel who took part in the coup range from 2500-3500.

Never let a crisis go to waste, President Erdogan.

 

 

Incirlik air base in Turkey has been placed on "Condition Delta" - the highest level of force protection as the Turkish government cut power to the base and is preventing any flights from taking off or landing.

The 2200 US military personnel at the base - along with 90 nuclear weapons - are now, essentially, hostages of the Turkish government.

President Erdogan has demanded that the US extradite Islamic scholar Fethullah Gulen, who lives in Pennsylvania. The Turkish government claims that Gulen is the ringleader of the coup.

The demand to turn over Gulen and the closing of the air base appear to be connected. Since Incirlik is vital to the air war against ISIS, the US will probably acquiesce and hand over Gulen - even though the Turkish government has yet to offer any proof whatsoever that he had anything to do with the coup.

ABC News:

U.S. troops at Turkey’s Incirlik air base were at the highest force protection level, known as "condition Delta," after power was cut off at the base and the Turkish government closed the airspace around the site in the hours following a foiled military coup attempt, a U.S. official told ABC News today.

Turkish officials told ABC News they believe Turkish planes docked at Incirlik Air Base took part in Friday night's coup attempt, which is why the airspace is locked down.

Turkey allows the United States to use the air base for operations associated with its air campaign against ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

There are 2,200 U.S. personnel in Turkey, including 1,500 stationed at Incirlik.

A Pentagon spokesman said the loss of commercial power to Incirlik has not affected operations because the U.S. facilities there are operating on internal power sources. U.S. officials are working with their Turkish counterparts to resume air operations at the air base. All U.S. government personnel in Turkey appear safe and secure, he added.

"Turkish government has closed its airspace to military aircraft, and as a result air operations at Incirlik Air Base have been halted at this time," Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook told ABC News. "In the meantime, U.S. Central Command is adjusting flight operations in the counter-ISIL campaign to minimize any effects on the campaign."

A member of Erdogan's cabinet, Süleyman Soylu, Turkey's minister of Labor, has gone so far as to accuse the US government of being behind the coup:

It's doubtful the US would have actively supported the coup attempt. We may not have control over Turkish planes parked at the air base, so it's possible that some of them were used in the coup attempt without US support.

Or, the Turkish government is making the whole thing up.

The round up of suspected coup participants is proceeding as expected. Erdogan is taking advantage of the crisis to arrest regime opponents who almost certainly had nothing to do with the military plot. More than 6,000 people have been arrested so far. Estimates of the number of Turkish military personnel who took part in the coup range from 2500-3500.

Never let a crisis go to waste, President Erdogan.