WASHINGTON, Sept. 03, 2015 —
The U.S. government has authorized the voluntary departure from Turkey of family members of American personnel at Incirlik Air Base and the U.S. consulate in Adana.
"This decision was made out of an abundance of caution following the commencement of military operations out of Incirlik Air Base," Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook said today at a news conference.
The move is not in response to a specific new threat, Cook said. "We've been at an elevated force protection level in Turkey at Incirlik for some time now," he added. Personnel at the air base, which is in southern Turkey, recently began participating in the air campaign against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
Families Can Choose to Stay
The family members of U.S. personnel have the option to leave Turkey at government expense, and family members who wish to remain in Turkey are free to do so, Cook said.
The State and Defense departments authorized the voluntary departure, he said, stressing that the authorization is limited to family members at Incirlik and at the U.S. consulate in Adana.
"The safety and security of U.S. citizens living abroad is one of our top priorities," Cook said. "We take very seriously the responsibility for ensuring the security of members of the entire official American community. We will continue to evaluate our security posture in Turkey and worldwide."
(Follow Lisa Ferdinando on Twitter: @FerdinandoDoD)