American Military Families Ordered to Leave Turkey

By Faye Higbee

American Military Families Ordered to Leave Turkey

On Tuesday, March 29, the DoD ordered the families of military personnel to leave Turkey due to “security” fears. The departure has no end date, and the Pentagon insists it has nothing to do with tours of duty for military personnel.

“They’re not going to be gone for three months and return. At this time, dependents won’t be in Turkey. There is no timeline of a return.” Julie Weckerlein, spokesperson for EUCOM.

The Department of Defense has been briefing the dependents on their options, and arranging transportation out of the country.

Airmen walk the runaway to remove any debris or other items prior to the departure of a plane at Inciklik Air Base in Turkey. USAF photo

Stripes reported,

“Families are being briefed on all their options,” said Julie Weckerlein, a spokeswoman for U.S. European Command.

Those options include returning to one’s home of record in the States or moving to a follow-on assignment if there is one, she said. Families with school-age children will also likely be able to stay at Ramstein Air Base temporarily so their kids can finish out the school year, Air Force officials at Ramstein said.

In all scenarios, the military is paying expenses such as transportation and lodging for those families.

Upon arriving at their destination, families will be greeted by a team that will address housing, medical, financial and educational needs, Weckerlein said.

No specific threat

The Pentagon stated the there was “no specific threat” that triggered the moves. However, in recent months there have been numerous suicide bombings in Turkey, as we have reported.

“This was a decision made out of an abundance of caution, given the overall picture, the security threats that … we looked at in the region… ” Peter Cook, Defense Department Spokesman

The move affects about 670 dependents, and comes at the request of EUCOM Commander, Gen. Philip Breedlove. It also affects the families of diplomats.

Turkey is dangerous

The bases at Inciklik, Izmir, and Mugla are under review for the types of tours that have been done in the past – accompanied versus unaccompanied. Service members will remain at the base housing.

If, for example, an airman’s family has been ordered to depart, his length of tour in Turkey will be re-evaluated.

Inciklik has been on the front lines of U.S. Air Strikes against ISIS. But the danger not only at the bases, but elsewhere in Ankara, and Istanbul as well is extremely high.