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.
US İncirlik air base cordoned off by municipality trucks and bulldozers due to 2nd coup rumors. Turkey pic.twitter.com/EuykMQ0m5w
— ilhan tanir (@WashingtonPoint) July 31, 2016
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.”
US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Joseph Dunford is due to fly in for an inspection of the air base later today. He is also expected to hold talks with the Turkish government in Ankara.