Turkish Air Force changes name of main base in Ankara used in coup attempt
DHA photoThe Turkish Air Force has changed the name of the Akıncı Air Base in Ankara, which was used as the headquarters of the July 15 failed coup attempt, Doğan News Agency has reported.
The air base was renamed to its original name, Mürted, which was used until 1995, referring to apostates from the Ottoman forces during the Battle of Ankara which took place between the Ottoman Empire and the Timurid Empire in 1402.
The Air Force also degraded the base’s status from brigade command to base command. According to the organizational structure of the Air Force, the commander of a base command holds the rank of colonel. In addition, base commands do not host fleets but are only used by other fleets during deployments.
Three F-16 fleets at the base were also shut down according to a decree law under the state of emergency. Around 60 F-16s belonging to the 141st, 142nd and 143rd fleet were sent to air bases in Merzifon and the neighboring provinces of Eskişehir and Konya.
The Akıncı Air Base was used as the center of the failed coup attempt on the night of July 15, which was blamed on the Fetullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ). Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar and force commanders were taken to the base and held captive by pro-coup soldiers. However, they were all later freed in a special forces operation in the early hours of July 16. Its runways were also bombed to prevent F-16s used by the coup plotters from taking off.
Opened in 1960, Akıncı was constructed on the Mürted Lowland in the west of Ankara to provide defense to the capital.
The base currently hosts facilities of the Turkish Aerospace Industries, but its future uses remain unclear in the aftermath of the coup attempt.
Defense Minister Fikri Işık had earlier said the Akıncı Air Base would be opened to the public as a “democracy park” as a part of the government’s move to relocate a number of troops in Istanbul and Ankara by mid-September.
Meanwhile, the Ankara Chamber of Industry (ASO) said part of the base should be affiliated with the air and aviation industries center in the region, while the remaining part of the base could become a “democracy park.”