US Military Bans Troops’ Families In Turkey After Istanbul Attacks

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Saagar Enjeti White House Correspondent
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In the wake of the Istanbul attacks, the Obama administration permanently banned U.S. troops from taking their families to Turkey while deployed.

The change will affect the nearly 2,200 U.S. troops inside Turkey, and will shorten their tours from two years to one.

Three suicide bombers carrying guns killed 41 civilians and wounded 239 late Tuesday at Istanbul Ataturk International Airport. U.S. counter-terrorism officials and experts largely agree the attack was the work of Islamic State.

Turkey is a NATO ally and major hub for the U.S. anti-ISIS coalition. The Obama administration ordered all military dependents to leave Incirlik air base in March, where air operations against ISIS are launched daily. The administration at the time stressed the ban was not permanent, and that U.S. dependents throughout the country could stay.

The attack on Istanbul Ataturk International Airport is only the latest in a string of suicide attacks throughout the country. “The change reflects the continued deterioration of security conditions throughout Turkey,” one U.S. military source told Reuters.

The U.S. Department of State issued a new travel warning in Turkey that “foreign and U.S. tourists have been explicitly targeted by international and indigenous terrorist organizations.” The State Department also advised all U.S. citizens to “Stay away from large crowds, including at popular tourist destinations.”

As ISIS loses some territory in Iraq and Syria, experts agree the group will try to distract the media with high profile attacks. The Tuesday Istanbul attacks mimic the attacks in Paris and Brussels, which have reverberated across the world. Soner Cagaptay, a Turkish expert at The Washington Institute, said in an op-ed for CNN,  that if ISIS is responsible for the Istanbul attacks “Turkey’s vengeance will come down like rain from hell.”

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