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8/4/16

Turkey Surrounds, Blocks Access To NATO's Incirlik Airbase Amid Speculation Of Second Coup - by Tyler Durden

While it is common knowledge by now that the failed and/or staged Turkish coup two weekends ago was nothing more than an excuse for Erdogan to concentrate even more power and eradicate all political and independent opposition, a story that has gotten less attention is the sudden, and acute deterioration in US-Turkish relations.

This culminated two days ago when the Commander of US Central Command (CENTCOM) General Joseph Votel was forced to deny on the record having anything to do with the attempted coup in Turkey following pointed allegations from the very top in the local government that the US orchestrated last Friday's "coup", according to a statement released by the US military on Friday.

As Stars and Stripes reported late last week, the recent failed coup and jailing of military leaders in Turkey could impact U.S. operations there against the Islamic State group, Gen. Joseph Votel said Thursday at a security conference in Colorado. Votel said the coup attempt in Turkey two weeks ago left him “concerned” about how U.S. operations and personnel at Incirlik Air Base will be affected.

"Turkey of course …sits on an extraordinarily important seam between the central region and Europe,” Votel said at the Aspen Security Forum. “It will have an impact on the operations we do along that very important seam. Obviously, we are very dependent on Turkey for basing of our resources…I am concerned it will impact the level of cooperation and collaboration that we have with Turkey.”

Yeni Safak, a daily paper known for its loyal support of Erdogan, even reported retired Army Gen. John F. Campbell, former commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan, was the mastermind behind the attempted overthrow. However, the paper also reported White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest called the allegations against the general unsubstantiated. 

Votel said Thursday that the United States was “continuing to work through some of the friction that continues to exist” following the failed coup. He did not elaborate.
The general did say some of the arrested Turkish officers worked with U.S. personnel to coordinate airstrikes against the Islamic State group. “Yes, I think some of them are in jail,” Votel said of certain key Turkish military liaisons.

As a result of the coup attempt, U.S. air operations were temporarily suspended and the Turkish government cut power to Incirlik.

The diplomatic spat continued on Friday when comments made at an Erdogan’s rally once again blasted Votel for criticizing Turkey’s  post-coup attempt purge saying "Who are you? Know your place." Erdogan went on to hint once more that the United States planned the failed government overthrow bid.

To this Votel again responded that "any reporting that I had anything to do with the recent unsuccessful coup attempt in Turkey is unfortunate and completely inaccurate," Votel said. He was responding to an interpretation of comments made at a think tank in Washington, DC by Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accusing Votel of sympathizing with the coup plotters.

Read more: Turkey Surrounds, Blocks Access To NATO's Incirlik Airbase Amid Speculation Of Second Coup | Zero Hedge

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