TURKISH citizens and police have ‘surrounded’ the Incirlik air base it operates with the United States — and where a large stockpile of NATO nuclear weapons is held — ahead of a visit by a senior US official tomorrow.
Reports out of Turkey suggest all entrances to the air base have been blocked by heavy vehicles and police sent to secure its peremiter.
The unusual nigh-time move sparked rumours of a second coup attempt on Turkish social media, with concerned citizens rushing to the air base to join the blockade.
The move comes less than a week after a top US Army general was accused by Turkish media of ‘leading’ the uprising against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan earlier this month.
But Turkish Minister for European Affairs has since reportedly sought to reassure local media, stating the mission was just a “safety inspection”.
Regional Governor Ahmet Cina has told Turkish news services: “Everthing is normal and controlled. There is no movement of our troops.”
The Turkish Hurriyet news service reported Turkish authorities had responded to “intelligence reports” by ordering the move about 11pm Turkish time.
It states ‘riot police’ and armed vehicles have ‘taken precautions’ around the base.
ARMED FORCES ‘REINED-IN’
Turkey will shut down its military academies and put the armed forces under the command of the defence minister, President Tayyip Erdogan said in a move designed to bring the military under tighter government control after a failed coup.
Turkey’s Western allies condemned the attempted putsch, but have been rattled by the scale of the resulting crackdown.
Both the general staff and the intelligence agency now report to the prime minister’s office. Putting them under the president’s overall direction would be in line with Erdogan’s push for a new constitution centred on a strong executive presidency.
Erdogan also said that a total of 10,137 people have been formally arrested following the coup.
Full article: Reports Turkish troops have sealed off Incirlik US/NATO nuclear air base (news.com.au)