Entrances and exits to the U.S. airbase at Incirlik were closed by Turkish police Saturday, Hurriyet, one of Turkey’s major newspapers, has reported.
The report came after pictures circulated on twitter showing Turkish police sealing off the airbase. Incirlik is a critical U.S. airbase for air operations against the Islamic State, and houses several U.S. nuclear weapons.
Secular elements of the Turkish military attempted a coup against Erdogan July 15, alleging the Turkish president was amassing too much power and becoming too Islamist. Erdogan publicly criticized Friday the head of U.S. military operations in the Middle East, after he told an audience at the Aspen Foundation that many of U.S. military’s allies in the Turkish military had been imprisoned.
After the failed coup, Turkey cut power to Incirlik airbase for nearly a week, deeply worrying the U.S. military. Dr. Michael Rubin, a middle east expert at the American Enterprise Institute, previously told The Daily Caller News Foundation that the Turkish government’s actions were akin to taking Incirlik airbase “hostage.”
While no reports suggest another active coup attempt is underway, the move is a surprising action taken against an important U.S. strategic asset. Some have speculated that the move could be a preemptive action taken before another coup attempt is launched.
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