Turkish government to move main military bases out of Ankara, Istanbul

Turkish government to move main military bases out of Ankara, Istanbul

Turkish government to move main military bases out of Ankara, Istanbul The air base which served as the main headquarters of coup-plotting soldiers on July 15 in Ankara and the military barracks in the capital and Istanbul used in the failed coup attempt will be closed, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said July 29.

“That Akıncı Air Base which nested traitors will be closed and it will be turned into a place where the memories of our martyrs will be kept alive,” Yıldırım said while addressing a crowd in the Kazan district of Ankara, which houses the base.

 Yıldırım also vowed to close down all military barracks from where tanks rolled out and helicopters took off in Istanbul and Ankara during the failed coup attempt.

He said the military barracks which were planned to be closed included Hasdal in Istanbul, as well as Maltepe, Mamak, Etimesgut, Güvercinlik and the army aviation school in Ankara. However, the premier noted that only Akıncılar Air base would be closed in terms of air bases. 

In addition, he also added that the government would close barracks which house tanks and armored vehicles in city centers and move them to the suburbs, while also reiterating the need for a restructuring of the army.

The Akıncılar Base was used as the center of the coup attempt on the night of July 15, which was blamed on the Fethullahist Terror 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. 

In the very first moments of the coup attempt, F-16 fighter jets flew at low altitude in Ankara. The Ankara police headquarters was attacked by jets and helicopters while the Gölbaşı special forces department headquarters was bombed by a pro-coup aircraft, killing 17 police officers and two personnel from satellite operator Turksat.

Meanwhile, tanks and armored vehicles which were dispatched from the First Army Command in Istanbul closed the city’s two bridges to traffic. However, soldiers on the Bosphorus Bridge later surrendered to security forces after the coup attempt failed.

In the early hours of July 16, fighter jets and helicopters bombed the Turkish parliament, marking a first in its history.

According to a statement by the General Staff, a total of 8,651 soldiers took part in the failed coup attempt of July 1, making up 1.5 percent of the military’s total personnel. It said 1,676 of the soldiers were from the rank and file while 1,214 were military students.

The military also added that 35 planes, including 24 fighter jets, 37 helicopters, 74 tanks, 246 armored vehicles and three ships were used in the coup attempt, while 3,992 light weapons were used by soldiers who participated in the coup attempt.