by Claire Bernish, The Free Thought Project:
Despite the Pentagon’s assertion NATO’s Incirlik Air Base remained unaffected by the attempted military coup in Turkey, the base has now been locked down — and power shut off.
Incirlik serves as a base of operations for the West’s fight against Daesh (ISIS, ISIL, the Islamic State), which have now been effectively halted as “local military authorities” appear to have forced the lockdown.
But a more ominous fact about the base must be noted: NATO houses the U.S.’ tactical nuclear weapons at Incirlik — as many as 80 nuclear bombs, though the total is considered classified information.
An emergency message posted online by the United States Consulate reads:
“Be advised that local authorities are denying movements on to and off of Incirlik Air Base. The power has also been cut. Please avoid the air base until normal operations have been restored.”
No further details were provided.
In fact, a dearth of information leaves the fate of the base — and precisely why the lockdown occurred, and who forced or ordered it — entirely up in the air at this time. However, as Deutsche-Welle reports:
“It is unclear whether aircraft from the base were hijacked by coup plotters during the overnight events. According to Turkish government officials, the jets were used to attack key buildings, including the parliament building in Ankara.”
An unnamed and unverified U.S. defense official told CNN that Turkish military authorities closed airspace surrounding the base until it can be verified any supporters of the coup have been rooted out. Jets already in the air at the time Incirlik shut down, however, were allowed to return to the base safely. That official provided no further details in the matter.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg reportedly tweeted he had received confirmation of the safety of all U.S. and NATO personnel in Turkey, in a phone conversation with NATO Supreme Allied Commander and head of U.S. European Command Gen. Curtis M. Scaparrotti.
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