US military deploys more assets to Incirlik to aid Turkey earthquake response

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The US military has begun deploying additional aircraft and personnel to Incirlik Air Base in southeastern Turkey to support the country’s earthquake response, officials said Friday.

Earlier this week, the US Air Force delivered two USAID urban search-and-rescue teams along with 170,000 pounds of equipment to the base to assist local and international emergency crews.

Additional US UH-60 Black Hawk and CH-47 Chinook transport helicopters from the 1st Combat Aviation Brigade based out of Romania headed to Incirlik on Friday to support relief efforts following a request by the Turkish government placed through USAID, a military official told Al-Monitor.

US European Command (EUCOM) has delegated the military’s role in supporting USAID’s response mission to US Naval Forces Europe and Africa and deployed a headquarters team and one-star US Marine Corps general, Andrew Priddy, to Incirlik on Thursday to coordinate the effort.

Why it matters: Just a few years ago, the Turkish government threatened to close Incirlik over disputes with the United States. Now the site is becoming a hub for vital aid flowing into Turkey following the country’s deadliest earthquake in decades.

As of Friday, Incirlik had received more than 1,337 international flights supporting earthquake relief efforts, the US military said.

Earlier this week, the Pentagon ordered the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush operating in the Mediterranean to prepare to assist Turkey’s rescue and recovery efforts should Ankara request it.

The carrier “arrived in the eastern Mediterranean Sea within hours of notification on Feb. 7, and stands ready to provide logistics, medical and rotary airlift support,” EUCOM said in a statement today.

Go deep: Check out this week’s edition of Al-Monitor’s weekly Security Briefing newsletter for a roundup of the US and international response to last week’s devastating earthquake. And sign up to receive the newsletter in your inbox every Thursday here.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

Jared Szuba


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