U.S. Orders All Military Families to Evacuate Turkey Due to ISIS Threat

Image: Emergency services at the scene of a suicide bombing on a street, in Istanbul, Turkey. (PHOTO CREDiT: Emrah Gurel / AP)
Image: Emergency services at the scene of a suicide bombing on a street, in Istanbul, Turkey. (PHOTO CREDiT: Emrah Gurel / AP)

The U.S. military has ordered military family members to evacuate southern Turkey, primarily from Incirlik Air Base, due to security concerns, the Pentagon said Tuesday.

Family members will also be evacuated from facilities in Izmir and Mugla, according to a Pentagon statement.

“The decision to move our families and civilians was made in consultation with the Government of Turkey, our State Department, and our Secretary of Defense,” Gen. Philip M. Breedlove, commander of U.S. European Command, said in the statement.

A U.S. defense official told CNN that the base had been placed under Force Protection Condition Delta for weeks, the highest level of force protection for U.S. military bases. Delta level means that either a terrorist attack has just taken place in the immediate vicinity or “intelligence has been received that terrorist action against a specific location or person is imminent,” according to military guidelines.

A U.S. official said the evacuation decision was made because of the ongoing threats concerning possible ISIS attacks.

The State Department is also ordering the departure of family members of staff at the U.S. consulate in Adana, except for family members who also work at the diplomatic post.

“The safety and security of U.S. citizens living abroad are top priorities, and we take very seriously the responsibility for ensuring the security of members of the entire official American community,” a State Department spokesman said. “In close coordination with the Department of Defense, we will continue to evaluate our security posture in Turkey and worldwide.”

In addition, the State Department re-issued its travel warning for Turkey, stating that, “The U.S. Department of State warns U.S. citizens of increased threats from terrorist groups throughout Turkey and to avoid travel to southeastern Turkey.”

The State Department has also now restricted official travel by staff in Turkey to “mission-critical” movement only.

State Department spokesman John Kirby said Tuesday afternoon that the decision to order dependents out of Adana was not related to a specific threat but rather a “running analysis of the security threat” in the area over the last several weeks.

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SOURCE: CNN, Barbara Starr, Ryan Browne and Elise Labott