Demonstrators in Turkey call for closing of key strategic base used for strikes against ISIL

by WorldTribune Staff, July 29, 2016

Thousands of protesters rallied to demand the Turkish government close the base used by the United States to conduct airstrikes against Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL).

Turks protest outside of Incirlik air base on July 28.
Turks protest outside of Incirlik air base on July 28.

Protesters, some burning American flags, filled the streets outside the U.S. military base at Incirlik on July 28. The U.S. military is also said to maintain an arsenal of nuclear weapons for NATO at the base.

Pentagon spokeswoman Henrietta Levin said officials at Incirlik were aware of the planned demonstration outside the base. “It did not impact operations at Incirlik,” Levin told Military Times.

Incirlik, home to nearly 3,000 U.S. troops, was placed on high alert after electrical power for the base was cut during the coup attempt. Troops relied on a backup generator for several days before the power was restored.

Military dependents were evacuated from Incirlik earlier this year due to mounting security concerns.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan imposed a three-month state of emergency in the country after the coup attempt. More than 13,000 people in the military, judiciary and other institutions have been detained since the July 15.

Meanwhile, Gen. Joseph Votel, the U.S. military commander for the Middle East, told the Aspen Security Forum that he’s worried the failed coup could affect U.S. relations with the Turkish military, noting that some of its leaders have been jailed.