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Protest at Incirlik base in Turkey doesn’t affect operations

A U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III rolls past a C-5 Galaxy as it taxis for departure July 22, 2016, at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. The U.S. military says operations were not affected by a protest outside the base. A large group gathered Thursday, July 28, 2016, to protest U.S. presence at the Turkish military facility.

By STARS AND STRIPES Published: July 29, 2016

The U.S. military says operations were not affected by a demonstration outside Incirlik Air Base, where a large group had rallied on Thursday to protest the American presence at the Turkish facility.

The military was warned in advance of the protest, said to involve at least 1,000 demonstrators. Americans were advised by the U.S. diplomatic missions in Turkey to stay away from the rally.

“It did not impact operations at Incirlik,” Henrietta Levin, a Pentagon spokeswoman, said Friday.

The demonstration came two weeks after a failed coup attempt in Turkey.

Stories on Turkey's attempted military coup and its aftermath

Protesters demanded that the government end the American presence at Incirlik. In video footage of the event, some participants burned American flags.

Top U.S. officials voiced support of the Turkish government after the coup. They have also rejected suggestions by pro-government media and Turkish officials that the U.S. had a hand in the effort to oust the administration of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Since August 2015, Incirlik Air Base has been a launching pad for airstrikes against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria.

In March, U.S. European Command pulled hundreds of military family members out of Incirlik because of security concerns.

After the attempted coup, security conditions were elevated to Delta — the military’s highest level.

“On a continuous basis, we assess threats to our forces, and we implement force protection measures and security enhancements at facilities across the EUCOM area of responsibility based upon those assessments,” Levin said.

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