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.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.