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Families of US personnel ordered to leave parts of Turkey amid security concerns

The departures do not indicate a decision to permanently end US families’ presence at military facilities.

American flag.Picture: AFP

WASHINGTON - The Obama administration ordered the families of US military, diplomatic and other government personnel to leave parts of southern Turkey on Tuesday and warned US citizens against travel to the region amid mounting concerns over security.

The US military's European Command said it had ordered the departure of families of personnel stationed in Adana, including Incirlik air base, which is used heavily in the fight against Islamic State militants. It said families of US military personnel also had been told to leave Izmir and Mugla provinces.

The decision was authorised by US Defense Secretary Ash Carter, a statement from European Command said.

"We understand this is disruptive to our military families, but we must keep them safe and ensure the combat effectiveness of our forces to support our strong ally Turkey in the fight against terrorism," General Philip M. Breedlove, commander of the US European Command, said in the statement.

The departures do not indicate a decision to permanently end US families' presence at military facilities in southern Turkey, the statement said.

The US State Department said later it had ordered the departure of family members of government workers at the US Consulate in Adana, and that families of US government workers in Izmir and Mugla provinces were also asked to leave.

The State Department issued a statement cautioning US citizens more broadly against traveling to southeastern Turkey.

It also warned of "increased threats from terrorist groups throughout Turkey."

The US moves come a day after Secretary of State John Kerry met in Washington with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu to discuss bilateral issues, including efforts to defeat Islamic State militants in Syria and Iraq.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan was due to visit Washington this week to attend a Nuclear Security Summit with other world leaders.