© REUTERS / Alkis Konstantinidis NEWS
Over five thousand joined anti-American demonstrations yelling “death to US” and demanding an immediate closure of the Incirlik Air Base for over five hours on Thursday before Turkish police came in and broke up the protesters before they could arrive at major NATO military facility, home to nearly 90 US tactical nuclear weapons.
On Thursday, a group of protesters swelled into several thousand ardent anti-American demonstrators heading towards the NATO Air Base at Incirlik, where they look to demand US forces immediately leave the country. Nationalists in Turkey have been emboldened since the failed coup attempt against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, with the country’s Labor Minister telling HaberTurk news that Washington was behind the coup attempt and with Prime Minister Binali Yildirim threatening all-out war against the United States.
A critical turning point may have been the massive fire that broke out near the Izmir Air Base this weekend, with T24 news reporting that officials suspected that the cause was anti-American sabotage. The blaze came hours after President Erdogan’s leading Islamist newspaper, Yeni Safak, printed the image of the NATO International Security Assistance Force Commander, US Army General John Campbell, as a leading force behind the coup along with Fethullah Gulen.
The situation at Incirlik Air Base threatens to be even more perilous, with thousands of protesters chanting “death to the US” as they head towards one of NATO’s most important strategic military bases. The facility, only 60 miles (96km) from the Turkish-Syrian border, is home to as many as 90 tactical nuclear weapons, creating the danger that these weapons could fall into the hands of international terrorists.