Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Terrorists Impact: Pentagon Pulling Military Families Out of Turkey

Map of Turkey (from USA Today)

The Pentagon ordered families of hundreds of U.S. military members to evacuate southern Turkey amid growing violence in the country, and on the eve of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's arrival in the U.S. for security meetings.

The “ordered departure” (March 29th) comes two days before Erdoğan meets with Vice President Biden during a nuclear security summit in Washington. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Erdoğan and President Obama will meet informally.

The decision affects almost 700 family members and other U.S. civilians assigned to Incirlik Air Base, a consulate in Adana and smaller facilities in the cities of Izmir and Mugla.

Incirlik Air Base, home to the U.S. 39th Air Base Wing, is a crucial player in the war against the Islamic State. Last year, Turkey agreed to allow use of the base for U.S.-coalition jets conducting airstrikes in Syria and Iraq. NATO's Allied Land Command is based in Izmir.

The mandatory evacuation does not include more than 100 family members based in Ankara and Istanbul despite recent bombings in both cities. A Feb. 17 car bomb in the capital, Ankara, killed at least 30 people, and a suicide bombing March 19 on a popular shopping street in Istanbul killed five people, including two Americans.

On March 9, the Defense Department-run school at Incirlik, less than 100 miles from the Syrian border, was closed due to security concerns, and the base imposed additional protective measures.

Story continues here from USA Today.

This is big news and the odds are, in my view, ISIS tactics will catch on with others will to languish even in their setbacks. 

There is a Chinese proverb used to define terror and it seems to be working here today with ISIS, and it has for some time now: “Kill one to frighten 10,000.”  

How pathetic is that. A few terrorists can indeed do great harm. Then look at the way we must react with more manpower, lots more money, new equipment, and security steps up the yin-yang as the say. ISIS and others of that same ilk revel in their tactics for one reason: Up to this point it works despite their losses. 

Related (U.S.-Turkish relations):  

The United States and Turkey have a long history of alliance, partnership and cooperation. Today, the relationship between the two continues to develop and grow in importance through mutual values, shared interests in security and stability in the region and beyond, fighting terrorism and extremism, and economic collaboration.  

The mutual ties between the U.S. and Turkey were formalized with the 1947 Economic and Technical Cooperation agreement. This agreement reflected the Truman doctrine, through which the U.S. offered support to democratic nations. Turkey joined NATO in 1952, which further solidified its alliance with the U.S. and the Western world. During the Korean War, Turkey supported the United States and its NATO allies by sending three Turkish brigades to the war zone, and throughout the Cold War, Turkey remained a strong U.S. partner. This alliance then continues into the present day.   

In 2009, U.S. President Barack Obama chose Turkey as the destination of his first bilateral visit as president. That same year, the U.S. and Turkey drafted the Framework for Strategic Economic and Commercial Cooperation (FSECC), which furthered bilateral cooperation on technology. In 2013, the U.S. and Turkey created a $200 million fund to help stem extremism.   

More recently, the two countries co-founded a program in 2015 to train and equip Syrian rebels in efforts to thwart ISIS.  

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