U.S. orders families of personnel in Turkey to leave over security concerns

By Andrew V. Pestano  |  March 29, 2016 at 1:02 PM
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STUTTGART, Germany, March 29 (UPI) -- The U.S. Department of Defense and Department of State on Tuesday ordered the departure of families of U.S. personnel in southern Turkey due to regional security concerns.

The families of U.S. personnel living in Adana, Ismir and Mugla have been ordered to leave, including those in the Incirlik Air Base.

"This decision allows for the deliberate, safe return of family members from these areas due to continued security concerns in the region," U.S. European Command said in a statement. "This step does not signify a permanent decision to end accompanied tours at these facilities. It is intended to mitigate the risk to [Department of Defense] elements and personnel, including family members, while ensuring the combat effectiveness of U.S. forces and our mission support to operations in Turkey."

The Pentagon said it will continue working with Turkey in the common fight against the Islamic State, adding that the Incirlik is essential to counter-terrorism operations.

"The decision to move our families and civilians was made in consultation with the government of Turkey, our State Department, and our Secretary of Defense," U.S. European Command Cmdr. Gen. Philip M. Breedlove said in a statement. "We understand this is disruptive to our military families, but we must keep them safe and ensure the combat effectiveness of our forces to support our strong ally Turkey in the fight against terrorism."

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