F-16s were aerially refueled 20 times during the failed coup

Radar records from the night of the failed military coup indicate that three fuel tankers refueled F-16s that participated in the coup.

Courtesy of: AFP
Courtesy of: AFP

A picture taken on July 19, 2016 through the shattered window of a car shows Turkish flags hanging from the facade of the damaged Ankara police headquarters after it was bombed during the failed July 15 coup attempt.

Radar records from the night of the failed military coup in Turkey indicate that three fuel tankers that took off from Incirlik Air Base refuelled F-16’s at least twenty times. 

The first tanker took off from Incirlik Air Base on July 15 at 21:45 pm and returned to the base the next morning at 05:28 am. It flew over Ankara refuelling F-16’s that were participating in the first wave of the failed coup attempt. 

The second tanker took off from Incirlik Air Base at 21:50 local time and returned at 06:03 the next morning. The tanker flew over Afyon, Ankara, and Istanbul where jets were flying low over cities at high speeds triggering sonic booms.

The third tanker took off from the base on July 16 04:59 local time and returned 10:42 am. During its 6-hour flight the tanker flew over the Black Sea region and Ankara and provided fuel for F-16’s.

These tankers were responsible for fueling those jets that also dropped bombs in Ankara causing several casualties.

Brigadier General Bekir Ercan Van who was the commanding officer of the 10th Tanker Base Command was arrested and dishonourably discharged from the Turkish Air Force after an investigation by the Adana chief public prosecutor's office.  He gave the order for the fuel tankers to provide oil for the F-16s so that they could stay in the air longer in an effort to complete the coup.

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim visiting the Police Special Operation Department's Headquarters in Ankara. The 10-storey police headquarters in Ankara is now a wreck, gutted by successive air raids during the night of Turkey's failed coup.

The F-16s flying over Istanbul were refuelled over Afyon, and the ones flying over Ankara were provided fuel over Akincilar Air Base. Out of the seven fuel tankers which are stationed at Incirlik Air Base, four were prepared to take part in the coup. Three of them participated, and the fourth fuel tanker was on standby awaiting further orders.