Turkish media reports have stated that the United States (US) Army will turn its “Patriot Village” located at Turkey’s Incirlik Air Base into a prefabricated city, in order to host military personnel from anti-ISIS coalition forces.
Incirlik Air Base is located in the southern Turkish province of Adana and it has been used by US and NATO forces for various conflicts since 1958. The base is also located 100 km (60 miles) from the northwestern Syrian border.
The 39th Air Base Wing of the US Air Force is currently stationed at the base and the Patriot Village had previously served as a tent city for sixty years, for rotating NATO military personnel.
The maintenance program of the village has been valued at $1.8 million and the village-turned prefabricated city will house about 2,250 military personnel of US-led coalition forces operating against ISIS, according to the media reports.
Turkey reached a comprehensive agreement with the US government on July 23 to allow its Incirlik Air Base and Turkish airspace to be used by the US-led coalition air forces for air strikes against ISIS, in order to execute a joint action plan for northern Syrian issues.
The agreement had been described as “a game changer” in the fight against ISIS at the time by US officials.
US military has already deployed six F-16 fighters jets and more than 300 military personnel with support equipment to the base following the Incirlik agreement, Turkish media reported.
The 39th Air Base Wing of Incirlik, has also taken special measures to secure safe entrance and deployment of additional troops from US and NATO allies into the country, the reports added.
Philip Breedlove, the Commander of US European Command and the 17th Supreme Allied Commander of Europe (SACEUR) of NATO’s Allied Command Operations, announced that US-led anti-ISIS coalition has begun using Turkey’s strategic Diyarbakir Air Base, located in Turkey's southeastern region, in addition to the Incirlik Air Base for attacks against the militant group.
Breedlove said, “As guests of the Turkish government, they will enable us to better recover our coalition partners should they need assistance in Syria or Iraq,” speaking at the 34th Annual Conference on US-Turkey Relations organised by the American-Turkish Council (ATC) in Washington.
US armed forces and “the coalition intends to increase the operational footprint at Incirlik to step up the fight against [ISIS] in the coming months,” the general added.
AP also reported that US aircraft and about 300 US Air Force troops will be deployed at the Diyarbakir Air Base in order to increase military capabilities of the US-led coalition for search and rescue missions in Iraq and Syria, citing Pentagon officials.
Breedlove also stated that Turkey is currently facing both internal and external threats. Militant groups keep border security of the country in danger, as the outlawed PKK attacks in Turkish territory have been increasing, he pointed out.
The PKK is recognised as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the US, NATO, and the EU.
He emphasised US support of Turkey’s fight against “terrorism” saying that every country has right to defend itself against terrorism.
Turkey has recently been targeted with increasing terror attacks by the ISIS and PKK terrorist groups since a suicide bombing, widely thought to have been carried out by ISIS, in the Suruc district of Turkey’s southeastern Sanliurfa province claimed 34 lives on July 20.
The PKK has particularly increased its terror attacks on both police and the Turkish Armed Forces following the Suruc suicide bombing. More than 130 Turkish security officials have been killed in terror attacks by the PKK and ISIS since the bombing.
In response to the PKK and ISIS attacks, Turkish security forces have reportedly stepped up their efforts against the militant groups and killed more than a thousand PKK terrorists.