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Obama Briefed on Turkey Situation; Incirlik Closed, but Safe, Officials Say

By Jim Garamone DoD News, Defense Media Activity

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WASHINGTON, July 16, 2016 — President Barack Obama received a briefing today from his national security team on the situation in Turkey following a coup attempt, White House officials said.

A U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle lands at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, Nov. 12, 2015. Six F-15E’s deployed to Incirlik from the 48th Fighter Wing based at RAF Lakenheath, England, to conduct missions in support of Operation Inherent Resolve. Turkish airspace was closed to military operations following an attempted coup July 15, 2016. Pentagon officials said all indications are that all personnel at the base are safe and secure. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Daniel Lile
A U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle lands at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, Nov. 12, 2015. Six F-15E’s deployed to Incirlik from the 48th Fighter Wing based at RAF Lakenheath, England, to conduct missions in support of Operation Inherent Resolve. Turkish airspace was closed to military operations following an attempted coup July 15, 2016. Pentagon officials said all indications are that all personnel at the base are safe and secure. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Daniel Lile
A U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle lands at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, Nov. 12, 2015. Six F-15E’s deployed to Incirlik from the 48th Fighter Wing based at RAF Lakenheath, England, to conduct missions in support of Operation Inherent Resolve. Turkish airspace was closed to military operations following an attempted coup July 15, 2016. Pentagon officials said all indications are that all personnel at the base are safe and secure. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Daniel Lile Incirlik receives F-15s in support of OIR
A U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle lands at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, Nov. 12, 2015. Six F-15E’s deployed to Incirlik from the 48th Fighter Wing based at RAF Lakenheath, England, to conduct missions in support of Operation Inherent Resolve. Turkish airspace was closed to military operations following an attempted coup July 15, 2016. Pentagon officials said all indications are that all personnel at the base are safe and secure. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Daniel Lile

The president reiterated to his national security team that the United States will continue its unwavering support for Turkey’s democratically elected government, officials said in a statement.

Work with Counterparts

Obama instructed the team to continue to work with Turkish counterparts to maintain the safety and well-being of diplomatic missions and personnel, U.S. service members and their dependents, White House officials said.

“While we have no indications as of yet that Americans were killed or injured in the violence,” the White House statement said, “the president and his team lamented the loss of life and registered the vital need for all parties in Turkey to act within the rule of law and to avoid actions that would lead to further violence or instability.”

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said all NATO personnel and units in Turkey “are safe and secure.” Turkey is a member of the NATO alliance.

Turkish officials have stopped all flights into and out of Incirlik Air Base in the southwestern part of the nation. U.S. and coalition aircraft fly missions against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant from the base. Defense Department officials continue their efforts to fully account for all DoD personnel in Turkey, Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook said. [Editor's note: At 9 a.m. EDT July 17, Cook provided this update: "After close coordination with our Turkish allies, they have reopened their airspace to military aircraft. As a result, counter-ISIL coalition air operations at all air bases in Turkey have resumed. U.S. facilities at Incirlik are still operating on internal power sources, but we hope to restore commercial power soon. Base operations have not been affected."]

All Safe and Secure

“All indications at this time are that everyone is safe and secure,” Cook said today in a statement. “We will continue to take the necessary steps to ensure the safety and security of our service members, our civilians, their families and our facilities.”

The Turkish government has closed its airspace to military aircraft, including to coalition aircraft operating out of Incirlik at part of Operation Inherent Resolve. “U.S. officials are working with the Turks to resume air operations there as soon as possible,” Cook said. In the meantime, he added, U.S. Central Command is adjusting and will use other facilities in the region to launch sorties.

“U.S. facilities at Incirlik are operating on internal power sources, and a loss of commercial power to the base has not affected base operations,” Cook said.

(Follow Jim Garamone on Twitter: @GaramoneDoDNews)