Posted tagged ‘İncirlik Air Base’

Trump to Sit Down With Turkish President Erdogan Amid Heightened Tensions

May 16, 2017

Trump to Sit Down With Turkish President Erdogan Amid Heightened Tensions, Washington Free Beacon, May 16, 2017

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks during the opening ceremony of the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing on May 14, 2017.
(Photo credit should read THOMAS PETER/AFP/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump will meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Washington, D.C., for the first time on Tuesday, one week after the White House announced plans to arm Syrian Kurds fighting the Islamic State despite fierce opposition from Ankara.

The meeting comes amid strained relations between the two NATO allies. Erdogan is expected to call on the Trump administration to reduce cooperation with the Kurdish YPG and renew demands for the extradition of Fethullah Gulen, a U.S.-based cleric whom the Turkish president accuses of masterminding last year’s failed coup.

The prominent Turkish newspaper Sözcü in an op-ed published Sunday urged Erdogan to evict U.S. troops from the strategic Incirlik Air Base, located 60 miles from the Syrian border in southern Turkey. American forces have used the base to launch airstrikes against ISIS since 2015.

Michael Rubin, a resident scholar on the Middle East at the American Enterprise Institute, predicted Erdogan will threaten to deny the United States access to Incirlik in an attempt to pressure Trump to scale back the American partnership with the YPG. He said Erdogan may also pivot toward closer cooperation with Russia in Syria.

“Erdogan will be shooting himself in the foot if he does either because it would just push the U.S. into the arms of the Syrian Kurds,” Rubin told the Washington Free Beacon on Monday. “I don’t think we have anything to lose in this meeting. In this visit, all eyes will be on Erdogan.”

Discussions between the two leaders will center on how to “deepen our cooperation to confront terrorism in all its forms,” the White House said in a statement announcing the meeting.

Turkish government officials bristled last week at the Trump administration’s decision to distribute weapons and ammunition to Kurdish YPG fighters to assist in the operation to retake Raqqa, the de facto capital of ISIS’s self-proclaimed caliphate.

Turkey considers the YPG an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or the PKK, which is considered a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States, and Europe. Erdogan accused the Trump administration on Wednesday of siding with “terrorist organizations” and urged the White House to reverse the decision.

Rubin said a reversal is unlikely.

“If we were to give into Turkey by either halting our arming of the Syrian Kurds or extraditing Gulen it would cost the United States very deeply—it would be worse than [former president] Obama’s ‘red line,'” he said. “If you look at the balance sheet of what Turkey gets us, the balance is not in favor of Turkey.”

U.S. military officials have contended the YPG is the only force on the ground capable of forcing ISIS out of Raqqa in the near future. Air Force Col. John Dorrian, a spokesman for Operation Inherent Resolve, told Pentagon reporters last week that providing arms to the Kurds will “accelerate” the offensive on Raqqa, where the U.S. military estimates about 4,000 ISIS fighters remain.

Though U.S.-Turkish relations may not be at risk in the short-term, Rubin predicted a “real crisis” with NATO should Erdogan seek closer relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin given that the United States shares classified information with NATO partners.

Trump and Erdogan’s meeting comes ahead of the 2017 NATO summit in Brussels scheduled to begin at the end of the month.

US nukes in Turkey vulnerable to ‘terrorists & other hostile forces’

August 15, 2016

US nukes in Turkey vulnerable to ‘terrorists & other hostile forces’ – think tank Published time: 15 Aug, 2016 11:55 Edited time: 15 Aug, 2016 12:11

Source: US nukes in Turkey vulnerable to ‘terrorists & other hostile forces’ – think tank — RT News

US airmen load an AIM-9 Sidewinder missile on to an F-16C at the Incirlik air base in Turkey. File photo. © Sgt. Lance Cheung / AFP

A US think tank has called for the withdrawal of nuclear arms from Turkey’s Incirlik Air Base, saying the country is in disorder and is too close to the Syria conflict zone.

The report prepared by the Stimson Center nonprofit think tank, titled ‘B61 Life Extension Program: Costs and Policy Considerations’, questions the safety of American nuclear weapons stored at Turkey’s Incirlik Air Base.

The failed military coup in Turkey on July 15 resulted in the base’s commander being arrested over alleged participation in the agitation.

Turkish authorities blocked the Incirlik base off completely, cutting the facility’s electric power and prohibiting any aircraft from flying in or out of the airfield.

“From a security point of view, it’s a roll of the dice to continue to have approximately 50 of America’s nuclear weapons stationed at Incirlik Air Base in Turkey, just 70 miles from the Syrian border,” said report co-author Laicie Heeley. “These weapons have zero utility on the European battlefield and today are more of a liability than asset to our NATO allies,” said Heeley, a fellow with the Budgeting for Foreign Affairs and Defense program at the Stimson Center.

The US brought tactical nuclear bombs to Europe and Turkey in 1950s and 1960s, allegedly to deal with Soviet tank armies that it was feared would pour onto the European battlefield in the event of World War III.

Most of the American nuclear arsenals were retracted from Europe in the early 1990s after the fall of the USSR, yet an estimated 180 obsolete nuclear B61 drop bombs are still stored at six European air bases in NATO member states Belgium, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, and Turkey.

The development of modern missile air defenses have nullified the A-bomb’s potential, as no bomber would be allowed to approach, let alone fly over, enemy territory.

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A long-rage ground-based missile silo, Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. © Kacper Pempel

Still, the US National Nuclear Security Administration plans to spend $US8 billion to extend service of an estimated 480 out of a total 800 B61 bombs the US still has in stock, the report says. These expenditures are planned within the framework of a 30-year, $1-trillion program, as Washington intends to modernize the American nuclear triad.

“These bombs are ill-suited for modern warfare and incredibly costly,” said Stimson Center co-founder and report co-author Barry Blechman.

The report suggests the “immediate removal” of all B61 nuclear weapons from Europe and discontinuation of the procurement of B61s. In this way the Pentagon would save over $6 billion which could be used to bolster the US military presence in Europe.

“The smart move would be to remove these weapons from Europe and double down to strengthen conventional forces that actually protect our NATO allies,” Blechman proposed.

In an article published on August 11, the former Director for Defense Policy and Arms Control on the White House National Security Council, Steve Andreasen, wrote that the B61 tactical nuclear weapons stored at Incirlik have become a hot potato rather than geopolitical argument.

“What if the Turkish base commander at Incirlik had ordered his troops surrounding the perimeter of the base to turn their guns on the US soldiers that reportedly guard US nuclear storage bunkers there?” said the former top White House arms control official.

The ex-White House weapons chief suggested other hair-raising scenarios involving the Incirlik nuclear arsenal.

For example, nationalistic Turks suspicious of the US role in the recent coup might display anti-American sentiment, similar to the Iranians in 1979, and seize the Incirlik base.

The proximity of the base to the Syrian border – where a war between international jihadist groups and the government of President Bashar Assad is raging for the sixth year – is another factor. The Pentagon already ordered all military families out of Incirlik and southern Turkey back in March over terrorism-related security concerns, recalls Andreasen.

“There are no do-overs in history, but there are lessons,” Andreasen concluded.

1,000s Turkish forces surround NATO’s Incirlik air base for ‘inspection’ amid rumors of coup attempt

July 31, 2016

1,000s Turkish forces surround NATO’s Incirlik air base for ‘inspection’ amid rumors of coup attempt

Published time: 30 Jul, 2016 23:35 Edited time: 31 Jul, 2016 03:07

Source: 1,000s Turkish forces surround NATO’s Incirlik air base for ‘inspection’ amid rumors of coup attempt — RT News

A military aircraft is pictured on the runway at Incirlik Air Base, in the outskirts of the city of Adana, southeastern Turkey. © Stringer / AFP

Some 7,000 armed police in heavy vehicles surrounded the Incirlik air base used by NATO forces in Adana in what a Turkish minister called a “security check.” With no official explanation, speculations have arisen about a new coup attempt or VIP visit.

READ MORE: Anti-US rally staged at NATO Incirlik air base in Turkey (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

Hurriyet reported earlier that Adana police had been tipped off about a new coup attempt, and forces were immediately alerted. The entrance to the base was closed off.

Security forces armed with rifles and armored TOMA vehicles used by Turkish riot police could be seen at the site in photos taken by witnesses.

Turkey’s minister for EU Affairs downplayed the situation in a Twitter post, saying a “security inspection” was carried out.

“We did the general security check. There is nothing wrong,” he tweeted from Adana.

Some supporters of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan have reportedly flocked to the cordon surrounding the base. The scene, however, did not appear as massive and tense as the recent Adana protests demanding for the base to be shut down.

On Thursday, a huge rally marched towards the NATO base, as people with loudspeakers chanted anti-American and anti-Israel slogans. The demonstrators claim that the US had a hand in the failed July 15 coup attempt in which 270 people died. Tens of thousands people, including members of the military, police, judiciary, media, and civil service, have been arrested in connection with the coup, which Turkish officials say was organized by US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, Erdogan’s former ally, who is now his most hated rival.

READ MORE: Anti-US rally staged at NATO Incirlik air base in Turkey (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

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© Medya Gundem

In the wake of the coup attempt, several military officials at the Incirlik Air Base, including its commander, General Bekir Ercan Van, were arrested on treason charges by Turkish authorities, which claimed that one of the rogue F-16 planes taking part in the rebellion to overthrow Erdogan’s government had been refueled there.

The general had even reportedly attempted to seek asylum in the US, but his plea was apparently rejected.

Incirlic Air Base is used by both the Turkish and US militaries and is vital to the US-led anti-terror bombing campaign in Syria and Iraq. It also serves as one of six NATO storage sites for US tactical nuclear weapons in Europe. The exact number of nuclear bombs kept at the base is unknown, although, according to various estimates, it may store up to 90 warheads.

The US-led coalition’s airstrikes had to be halted for several days when power was cut at the base. US military personnel stationed there had to switch to an internal power supply.

READ MORE: Local authorities block access to air base in Turkey that houses US nukes

The “inspection” at the base comes as the Turkish government announced a sweeping military reform on Saturday. In an interview with TV broadcaster A-Haber, Erdogan unveiled plans to scrap all military academies and replace them with a new national defense university.

The commanders of the different branches of the Turkish armed forces are to be put under the defense minister’s chain of command. In addition, Erdogan wants the National Intelligence Organization (MIT) and military chief of staff to report directly to him, which would require a new constitutional amendment to be passed by the parliament.

Communication with has been cutoff. Cannot reach them by email or phone.

It also comes on the eve of a visit from a top US military official, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford, who is scheduled to arrive in Turkey on Sunday. Diplomatic sources quoted by Hurriyet claim Dunford will go visit both Ankara and Incirlik.

Anti-ISIL coalition preparing broad air operation:

November 12, 2015

Anti-ISIL coalition preparing broad air operation:


Source: Anti-ISIL coalition preparing broad air operation: Report – MIDEAST

And so it begins .

AA photo

Coalition forces fighting against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) jihadist group are preparing for a wide-scale aerial operation in Syria, private broadcaster CNN Türk has reported.

A number of Turkish and American fighter jets in southern Adana’s İncirlik Air Base were preparing for a “wide-scale operation” by next month, with a “boots on the ground” option set aside by the security sources in Ankara.

The coalition’s air operation could be an intensive one which lasts for days, the report added.

The aim of the operation was also to cleanse the Jarabulus, Azaz and Mare lines in northern Syria.

The U.S. Air Force’s F-15 jets, which arrived in İncirlik on Nov. 6, meanwhile would not secure Turkish airspace as previously reported, with an objective instead of securing coalition jets from possible attacks coming from Syria and Russia.

In addition, the opposition Turkmens and Arab forces in Syria will continue to work on the ground while Turkish troops will stand by on the border. Moreover, the option of a Turkish operation would only be discussed if Democratic Union Party (PYD) forces in northern Syria pass to the western banks of the Euphrates, the report said.

Jets in İncirlik:

– 6 F-15C fighter jets

– 12 KC-135 tanker aircrafts

– 11 MQ-1 predators

– 12 A-10 bomber aircrafts

– 14 Turkish F-16 fighter jets