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Turkey detains ‘coup plotters’ at base used by US: Reports

TurkeyAttemptedCoup Updated: Jul 17, 2016 16:26 IST
Turkey coup

Security forces loyal to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan guard the General Staff headquarters in Ankara, Turkey, July 17, 2016.(Reuters Photo)

Turkish authorities have reportedly detained a senior air force general and other officers accused of backing the failed coup aimed at ousting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at a key air base used by US forces for raids in Syria.

Brigadier air force general Bekir Ercan Van was detained along with over a dozen lower ranking officers on Saturday at the air force base of Incirlik in Turkey’s southern Adana province, newspapers including the Hurriyet daily said.

They were now being interrogated by investigators, the reports added.

A Turkish official told AFP on Saturday that Ankara suspected Incirlik was used to refuel military aircraft “hijacked” by the coup plotters on Friday night.

The base has become a key hub for US forces after Turkey last year agreed to allow the United States to use Incirlik to carry out lethal raids against jihadists in Syria.

But the Turkish authorities imposed a security lockdown on the base in the wake of the coup, allowing no movement in or out, the US consulate in Adana said.

Meanwhile, operations from the Incirlik air base were suspended because of the closure of the airspace used for the missions, Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said in a statement.