Incirlik still running on backup power five days after Turkey “pulled plug”

Dependents of military members from Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, disembark from a C-17 Globemaster III after landing at Baltimore Washington International Airport, Md., April 1, 2016. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Andrew Lee)
Dependents of military members from Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, disembark from a C-17 Globemaster III after landing at Baltimore Washington International Airport, Md., April 1, 2016. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Andrew Lee)


The NATO air base in Turkey rumored to house American nuclear weapons has been running on backup power, ever since the power was cut off during the failed coup last week.

According to NBC News, Turkish-supplied power was cut to Incirlik Air Base in southern Turkey, as well as the closure of local airspace in the early hours of Friday’s failed military takeover of the NATO country. In addition, Turkish commanders of the base were arrested after being accused of allowing a tanker aircraft to refuel jets involved in the mutiny.

Secretary of State John Kerry said on Wednesday that he was confident that power would be restored to the airbase and that it would likely happen in a day or so.

State Department spokesman Mark Toner confirmed on Tuesday that power had been cut to the site and that “there are redundancy measures in place, specifically for this kind of outage or this kind of instance.”

While Turkey has become a sort of gateway for coalition fighters flying sorties over Syria, it is widely believed that American nuclear weapons are stored under the base- despite US denial that such weapons are kept there.

However, Jeffrey Davis of the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies cites references to “special weapons” being a thinly-veiled way of saying “nuclear warheads.”

Regardless of whether or not nuclear warheads exist at the airbase, other aspects of infrastructure that require power -such as refrigeration, air conditioners and other amenities- need to be addressed.

A senior State Department official told NBC that the US was in the process of “working through” these problems with Turkey.

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