Movement in and out of the Incirlik airbase in the South of Turkey has been blocked by military authorities following the failed Turkish coup.
U.S. military operations out of Turkey’s Incirlik Air Base came to a halt on Saturday afternoon as the Turkish military closed the airspace around the base and suspended all US-led operations targeting ISIS.
A message from the the US consulate in Adana said: “Local authorities are denying movements on to and off of Incirlik Air Base. The power there has also been cut”
“Please avoid the air base until normal operations have been restored,” it added.
The NATO airbase stores US tactical nuclear weapons.
According to CNN, airspace over the area has also been closed and power to the facility has been cut.
The closure of the airspace has reportedly led to a halt in US air strikes against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL). CNN was told by sources that the Turkish authorities did make an exception for US aircraft that had already been deployed on missions before the airspace was shut and allowed them to land at the base.
The air space will be closed until Turkish authorities gain full control over the situation in the region following the coup attempt, Turkish officials told the US, adding that they want to make sure that all elements of the Turkish air force are under the control of pro-government forces, as some warplanes and helicopters were used by rebels overnight.
After the anti-coup operations at the Incirlik base are completed, Turkey will continue its aerial operations against Islamic State within the US-led coalition, the Turkish foreign minister said, as reported by Reuters.
According to earlier reports, there were soldiers at the base involved in the coup attempt who have already been arrested.
The US will continue to cooperate with Turkey in its fight against Islamic State (IS, former ISIS/ISIL), US Secretary of State John Kerry said during his visit to Luxemburg.
US cooperation with Turkey within NATO, as well as in operations in Syria, has not been affected by the coup attempt, Kerry said, adding that the cooperation “continues as before.”
Meanwhile, US Central Command (CENTCOM) is now adjusting its operations against Islamic State (IS, former ISIS/ISIL) to account for the lockdown at Incirlik airbase, TASS reports, citing sources in Pentagon.
When the Turkish government closed its airspace to military aircraft, US Air Force operations at the Incirlik base ceased. US CENTCOM is now adjusting its operations against Islamic State to minimize the negative effect of the closure, the source told TASS, adding that the US is now holding consultations with Turkish authorities on the resumption of operations at the base.
The Incirlik airbase is of critical importance to the US military, as not only does it facilitate the US’ aerial operations against terrorists in neighboring Syria and Iraq, but it is also one of six NATO sites in Europe that house tactical nuclear weapons. The exact number of tactical nuclear bombs at the base is classified, although some reports put it at 50 or even 90.
A group within the Turkish military attempted to stage a coup on Friday night, using tanks and attack helicopters. The conspiracy failed, as they didn’t manage to capture any senior government officials and couldn’t win wide support from the Turkish military.
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