Hundreds of U.S. military families are urged to leave southern Turkey amid new concerns about safety, a defense official said Thursday.
The decision affects only the families of U.S. troops at Incirlik and diplomats at the consulate in nearby Adana. Families are not required to leave, but those who do would have their departures funded by the U.S. government. Defense Department schools will remain open for those who stay.
Had the WSJ one yesterday, but, pre-empted it for other news
WASHINGTON—The U.S. has offered to help relatives of American military and diplomatic personnel stationed at Incirlik Air Base and a consulate in nearby Adana to leave Turkey.
Relatives aren’t being required to leave, but the U.S. government will pay for their travel if they choose to depart, officials said. Family members were notified Thursday morning eastern time at a town-hall meeting at Incirlik air base. About 350 people attended and a small number indicated they would leave the country, a military official said.
“This decision was made out of an abundance of caution, following the commencement of military operations out of Incirlik Air Base,” State Department spokesman Mark Toner said. “We will continue to evaluate our security posture in Turkey and world-wide.”
The State Department also issued a travel warning for Turkey, advising U.S. citizens Thursday to “be alert for the potential for violence.” The warning noted terrorist attacks on U.S. interests in Turkey as well tourist sites and urged visitors to avoid demonstrations and large gatherings.
The Adana consulate will continue to operate normally and the U.S. isn’t sponsoring any evacuations, the travel warning said. Family members have up to 30 days to decide if they wish to leave, a military official said