Soldiers of the Turkish Army, along with the Turkish Police, have cut off the access to the NATO Incirlik airbase. This is the third incident, since the attempted coup, that breaches the safety of the said establishment. The first one was connected to a sudden power blackout. Anti-US protests, following the event above, were also organized in the base area.
The latest move made by the Turkish units on 31st July is being defined as an “inspection of security” by the Turkish Minister of European Affairs. According to the media reports published after the circumstances mentioned above emerged, the Police cordoning of the base is only a “precautionary measure”. Movements made by the Turkish units in the Incirlik region at night of 1st August, have led to emergence of numerous rumours, suggesting that steps have been taken to prevent another coup which could be planned by the Turkish Air Force.
The reality may be different though – the operation could be a retaliatory measure against the Americans, initiated in the light of the critique directed against the repressions following the unsuccessful coup attempt. The Turks have selected the Incirlik base, since it has a strategic value for NATO, especially in the light of the fact that US nuclear bombs are being stored at that location. Moreover, anti-American and anti-NATO views are being fuelled in Turkey, also in the light of the fact that extradition request referring to Fetullah Gulen, accused of being a leader of the coup, has been rejected.
Considering the context and the unclear situation, US, German and other NATO units stationed at the base have raised the security level and introduced extra procedures.
Incirlik base is, at the moment, one of the main airbases which is being used in the operations against ISIS in Syria. Not only are the USAF jets stationed there, since the base is also widely used e.g. by the German reconnaissance aircraft and tankers.