The US State Department and Pentagon on Tuesday ordered family members of US diplomats and military staffs to evacuate posts in southern Turkey, especially from the Incirlik Air Base, due to security concerns.
The move came amid a situation of heightened concern throughout Turkey. The evacuation order was accompanied by a travel warning for the Americans of an increased threat of attack.
According to a statement by Pentagon, families of military personnel at facilities in Izmir and Mugla will also be evacuated.
“The decision to move our families and civilians was made in consultation with the Government of Turkey, our State Department, and our Secretary of Defense,” Gen. Philip M. Breedlove, commander of U.S. European Command, was quoted as saying by the CNN.
According to a US defense official, the base has been under Force Protection Condition Delta for weeks. It is the highest form of protection for US military bases. A Delta level protection implies that either a terrorist attack has taken place near a military base or intelligence has been received of an imminent attack against a specific person or a location.
A Delta level protection implies that either a terrorist attack has taken place near a military base or intelligence has been received of an imminent attack against a specific person or a location.
A US official said that the decision to evacuate the family members from the bases were taken as a result of the ongoing threats from the ISIS.
“Foreign and US tourists have been explicitly targeted by international and indigenous terrorist organisations,” the State Department said in a statement, as was quoted by the Al Jazeera. “US citizens are reminded to review personal security plans and remain vigilant at all times.”
John Kerry, the US State Secretary, informed of the step to his Turkish counterpart on Monday during a meeting.
State Department spokesman John Kirby dismissed speculations that the decision was taken deliberately at a time when Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was visiting Washington to attend the Nuclear Security Summit.
Kirby said that the step was considered after careful thought and implemented with a significant interagency communication.