Yesterday, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman drew similarities between Turkish President Erdogan and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. No mention by Friedman of the standoff at the Incirlik Air Base in southern Turkey, where the US stores nuclear weapons and from which the US Air Force launches strikes against ISIS.
As reported in an NBC News article entitled "Incirlik Air Base: Post-Coup Power Cut Remains at U.S. Site" by F. Brinley Bruton, Abigail Williams and Courtney Kube:
"A Turkish air base widely believed to house U.S. nuclear weapons continued to rely on backup generators Wednesday, five days after a failed coup plunged the country into crisis.
Commercial power was cut to Incirlik Air Base in southern Turkey and the airspace above it closed within hours of Friday's attempted military takeover in the NATO country. Turkish commanders at the site were later arrested and led away after they were accused of allowing at least one tanker aircraft to refuel jets involved in the thwarted mutiny.
. . . .
No one is locked anywhere on the base, which has about 2,700 Defense Department civilians and military personnel, officials said. But people were not permitted to leave Wednesday for security reasons."
Regarding this crisis, Erdogan declared yesterday:
"We must not confound the issue of extradition of Gulen and the relations with the United States over air base Incirlik. Relations with other countries should not be built on feelings and emotions, but based on logic. Of course, it would be a big mistake on the part of the United States not to extradite Gulen. We've sent all the necessary documents to the United States, we've begun the extradition process, and we will wait for the decision."
Yes, the US is being blackmailed, and yes, the US needs to remove the nukes from Incirlik ASAP.
Meanwhile, Maureen Dowd, covering the Republican convention in Cleveland, writes in her latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Remainder Night at the Convention":
"Suddenly Trump, certainly irritated at not hearing the glorious sound of his own name in an elongated address by a 'loser [Ted Cruz],' entered the arena. He was once more soaring in, drowning Cruz out.
All eyes went to Trump as they dimmed the lights on the stage and the nominee regally walked in, a procession of one, to sit with his family in his stadium box with gold-and-black striped railings. The crowd got even more feral toward the former rival suddenly trapped onstage, looking like he didn’t know how to finish and finally slinking off."
My suggestion to Maureen: Take the next flight to Istanbul and report back from Incirlik, which could have implications for future life on this planet. Yes, I know: It's so much more fun at the circus.