Incirlik Air Base is one of the major strategically located US military bases. The base is in Turkey, which means that it is operated by both the US and the Turkish governments, unlike other co-bases. Most other military installations are operated by the US government, but under the regulation of the hosting government. Things are different here. The base is only 8 km away from Ardana, the fifth most important city in Turkey and the largest one in the southern part of the country. It is also around 50 km from the Mediterranean Sea, close to the Middle East. The population is mostly American – over 5000 troops. However, the base also hosts a few hundred British and Turkish soldiers. The place has two runways. One is 3 km long, while the secondary one is about 2.7 km. In free translation, the Turkish name refers to a place covered with fig trees. Most Americans have a hard time reading it, especially since they are not familiarized with the Turkish phonetics.
The Second Cairo Conference represented the beginnings of Incirlik Air Base. That is when the decision to build it was taken. However, the construction was delayed due to World War II. The actual construction began in 1951. Its initial purpose was to host the medium and advanced bombers. The hosting also included maintenance and repair operations. The first name was Adana Air Base and was given in 1955. The base kept it for three years only, as in 1958 it was renamed to what it is today.
The base played a major role throughout the history. It was close to Russia, therefore it was a very important place for the US government. It was mostly like a bristle in the Russian ribs. At the same time, the location was appropriate to deal with the crisis from the Middle East too, in countries like Israel or Lebanon.
Things became a little problematic during the ’70s. The United States of America decided to stop the Turkish use of American equipments during the invasion of Cyprus. At that time, Turkey decided to avoid being seen as just another country obeying the Americans. The government decided to shut down all the American bases in Turkey and turn them into Turkish military bases. Incirlik Air Base and Izmir Air Base were the only ones that were left alone, since they were part of a NATO agreement. All the non-NATO responsibilities were shut down though.
Other than that, the base was involved in humanitarian acts as well. The recent earthquake that struck South Asia is just one of the samples. Besides, it played a role in the Iraq invasion as well.
All the troops deployed to Incirlik Air Base will be hosted on base for safety reasons. Turkey is not considered to be a safe country by the US government, mostly because of the large Muslim communities. The place has 750 houses, therefore the space is limited. Most troops are hosted automatically, without any applications or anything alike.