US Spy Chief: Turkey’s Military Purge Hurting ISIS War

Many Officers Who Worked With US Caught Up in Purge

While Turkey’s wholesale purge in the two weeks since the failed military coup has targeted a broad swath of government ministries and even some aspects of private society, the biggest target has been the military, with 40% of the nation’s generals and admirals swept up, along with some 10,000 members of security forces overall.

That’s not sitting well with US officials, and US Director of National Intelligence James Clapper accused the purge of doing serious harm to bilateral military cooperation, particularly as it relates to the ongoing US war against ISIS.

Centcom commander Gen. Joseph Votel concurred, in comments at the Aspen Security Forum, and the two reported that a large number of Turkish military officers who were directly dealing with the US have ended up purged, or outright jailed over the coup.

Exactly how many this amounts to is unclear, but the general in charge of Incirlik Air Base, home of a number of US troops as well as several tactical nuclear weapons, was among those jailed in the immediate post-coup purge. US airstrikes out of Turkey into Iraq and Syria had to halt for a time, as the base had its power cut.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of

  • Nassim7

    I guess it would have been best not to support the coup from the word go and for NBC to lie and claim that Ordegan had fled the country.

    “US General Campbell: The ‘Likely’ NBC News Source in its Scandalous False Reporting on the Turkey Coup Attempt”

  • Ghost ship

    When I first read the title of this article, I thought it was referring to the ISIS war against the Syrian government. I can’t certainly see Turkey’s pivot to the east affecting the USGs war on Syria.

  • curmudgeonvt

    “…as it relates to the ongoing US war against ISIS.”

    Hey Clapper, you mean the war (that hasn’t been declared and is not legal) that your boss is not really fighting? The only thing Turkey’s situation might harm is the easy access to al Nusra (al Qaeda) for resupply and force deployments (after Russia blows away a squad/company or 2 now and then.)

  • richard young

    And of course, despite all of these close US military and intelligence contacts with high Turkish military officers involved in the military coup against the Turkish government, our (US) Government had no advanced knowledge or involvement with the coup. Right. Just as our Government had no advanced knowledge or involvement in the 2002 Venezuelan military coup against the Venezuelan government, despite identically close US military and intelligence contacts with high Venezuelan military officers involved in that coup. Sure. And our Government had nothing to do with the forcible removal of Haitian President Aristide in 2004 — despite the fact that our US Ambassador entered the presidential residence in the dead of night accompanied by armed US military, woke up the President and his wife, told the President that he had the “choice” of signing a “resignation” presented to him by our Ambassador or being left to face an approaching gang of armed men (termed by our then Secretary of State Colin Powell as “murderous thugs”) whom our Government said it could not control, and then loaded President Aristide on a waiting US aircraft for delivery to an African dictatorship with which our Government had already arranged for President Aristide’s “exile.” Of course. How many times can our Government (Democratic or Republican) sell these lies to the American people before they finally get wise? Unfortunately, most folks don’t seem to want to know the extent of our Government’s meddling in the internal affairs of other countries. Or perhaps they really believe that our “exceptionalism” entitles us to tell less “exceptional” folks how they should live their lives. And so it goes.

  • Smoke

    With the Clap, I should just assume the world is the opposite of what he says.

    In this case, the rest of the world is cheering that ISIS supply lines are being cut off now that the US-friendly parts of the Turk military are being purged. Turkey is geopolitically making a turn from the US to Russia, and that goes from Turkey being allied to a country who’s leading candidate for President just said that the war against ISIS should be set aside. And instead American lives and treasure should be spent fighting on the same side as Sham-Al-Qaida and ISIS, which means against the forces who’ve been doing the most damage to ISIS …… Assad and the Syrian army and their allies.

    So, on general principle, I don’t really trust The Clap to ever tell the truth, and if you assume he is lying then its far more likely that if you think just the opposite of what The Clap’s saying, then you might be closer to the neighborhood of the actual truth.