Arson Attack: Turkish Authorities Say Huge Fire Near U.S./NATO Base at Izmir Intentionally Set
Firefighters were battling a very large blaze in western Turkey overnight Monday that authorities say was intentionally set near a U.S./NATO base at Izmir. This installation is not the same one as Incirlik Air Base, hundreds of miles to the east. That’s where the power was recently turned back on after a week-long ‘siege’ following Turkish military personnel using the base in the failed coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and several alleged plotters being arrested on base. However, the fact that Turkish authorities are saying the fire was intentionally set and that this arson may have been an act motivated by hatred of the U.S. military presence in the country says a great deal about the state of relations between Ankara and Washington.
— Abdullah Bozkurt (@abdbozkurt) July 23, 2016
The pro-Moscow state funded news outlet Sputnik International reports:
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CNNTurk reports that the fire threatens a number of populated areas, and has already impacted a home for the elderly and its adjacent garden, T24 News reports. The channel also reports that anti-American “sabotage” in the wake of the attempted overthrow of the Erdogan government is suspected.
The fire threatens the Allied Land Command (LANDCOM) base at Şirinyer (Buca) in İzmir, Turkey. LANDCOM is tasked with supporting US troops to enhance reaction time and the unit is equipped to respond to international crises.
Although Washington maintains its largest overseas nuclear arsenal in Turkey, consisting of up to 90 tactical nuclear weapons, the US atomic weapons stockpile is stored at Incirlik air base and no such weapons of mass destruction are reportedly stored at the Izmir base…
Sunday’s fire comes in the wake of the failed attempt to overthrow the Erdogan government last week that the regime has blamed on US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen. The country’s Laber Minister created a stir when he said on live television during an interview with HaberTurk that “the US is behind the coup.” This hyperbolic statement, condemned by the US State Department, was followed by a threat from Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yidlirim that Ankara would go to war with “any country” that supports Fethullah Gulen — a direct reference to the United States.
The US has repeatedly informed Turkey that they are unable to extradite the alleged mastermind of the coup, Fethullah Gulen, under US law without sufficient evidence. A recent poll shows that only 17% of Turks welcome the United States in the country and with Ankara shifting towards a more nationalistic posture attacks against US installations may become more likely in the wake of the failed coup.
— Rob McNeece (@akula_51) July 25, 2016