Skip to main content /WORLD /WORLD

U.S. buildup at Turkey air base reported

By Jane Arraf
CNN Ankara Bureau

ANKARA, Turkey (CNN) -- Turkish military sources said Thursday the United States has beefed up its presence at Incirlik Air Base in south-central Turkey.

The American base is used to monitor and bomb northern Iraq on a regular basis as part of Operation Northern Watch -- the operation that maintains the northern no-fly zone established after the Gulf War.

Attack on America
 CNN NewsPass Video 
Agencies reportedly got hijack tips in 1998
Intelligence intercept led to Buffalo suspects
Report cites warnings before 9/11
Timeline: Who Knew What and When?
Interactive: Terror Investigation
Terror Warnings System
Most wanted terrorists
What looks suspicious?
In-Depth: America Remembers
In-Depth: Terror on Tape
In-Depth: How prepared is your city?
On the Scene: Barbara Starr: Al Qaeda hunt expands?
On the Scene: Peter Bergen: Getting al Qaeda to talk

Turkish military sources said the base seems to be gearing up for a major strike on Iraq -- more than just the routine patrolling of the northern no-fly zone.

In the two days since the terrorist attacks in Washington and New York, the United States has sent in more troops to bulk up its force of 7,000 troops already there, the sources said.

Movement in the towns surrounding the air base also has been restricted, they said.

The Pentagon had no immediate comment.

Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit told CNN Thursday in Ankara that Turkey would allow the base to be used on an any attack against neighboring Iraq, as part of its commitments to NATO.

On Wednesday, NATO invoked a Cold War-era mutual defense clause indicating the alliance's support of the United States. It was the first time in NATO's 52-year history the clause was invoked.

"It is a very powerful signal to the international community and to those who dabble in terrorism or who harbor terrorists, that the Western alliance will not stand easily by," said NATO Secretary-General George Robertson.

According to Article 5, the cornerstone of the alliance, "an armed attack" against any of the NATO members "shall be considered an attack against them all."

See related sites about World
Note: Pages will open in a new browser window
External sites are not endorsed by CNN Interactive.


Back to the top