Pentagon tells US military families to leave Turkey

Washington, March 30 (IANS) The Pentagon on Tuesday ordered families of US troops to evacuate southern Turkey amid deteriorating security situation.

The order issued on Tuesday would impact primarily US military family members from Incirlik air base in Adana, Turkey, which in recent months had become a major hub for launching US-led coalition airstrikes against the Islamic State (IS) targets in Iraq and Syria, Xinhua reported.

Family members of US military from facilities in Turkish cities of Ismir and Mugla would also be affected by the order.

“The decision to move our families and civilians was made in consultation with the government of Turkey, our State Department, and our secretary of defence,” said a statement by the US European Command.

However, the order did not “signify a permanent decision to end accompanied tours at these facilities”, said the statement.

“It is intended to mitigate the risk to DoD (Department of Defence) elements and personnel, including family members, while ensuring the combat effectiveness of US forces and our mission support to operations in Turkey,” it said.

The order came after the US State Department issued a travel warning, urging US citizens to avoid southeastern Turkey due to “increased threats from terrorist groups”.

Turkey has experienced a string of deadly attacks over the past few months, with the latest one hitting central Istanbul, a Turkish city that straddles Europe and Asia across the Bosporus Strait, on March 19, killing five people. It came only one week after a car laden with explosives hit central Ankara, Turkey’s capital, claiming 37 lives.

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