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Time ticking down on US nuclear presence in Turkey

Growing US and NATO dissatisfaction with Turkey and its rising regional expansionism may soon drive the Americans out of the strategic Incirlik Air Base, a move that would have major implications for regional security and alliances.

The US currently operates at two important bases in Turkey that are ultimately controlled by Anakara but house US tactical nuclear weapons, namely the B61 gravity bomb. The main base is the Mediterranean Sea-facing Incirlik while the other is at Izmir on Turkey’s Aegean coast. 

US personnel operate at the bases under NATO orders. US personnel are not allowed to travel in or out of Turkey without approved NATO orders in hand and a written order for them to report to either of the bases. 

To visit other NATO countries or to purchase a cellphone subscription, a US passport is also needed. Housing for US personnel is only on the base and US personnel are not permitted to engage with the local economy, as areas outside the base are considered unsafe by the US government.