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US Relocates Most Defense Family Members from Turkey

FILE - A United States Air Force cargo plane maneuvers on the runway after it landed at the Incirlik Air Base, on the outskirts of the city of Adana, southern Turkey, July 31, 2015. Pentagon orders to relocate 670 military dependents from Incirlik Air Base, Ismir, and Mugla, March 29, 2016, due to safety concerns.

The United States has ordered military families to leave parts of southern Turkey due to safety concerns.

The Pentagon's orders relocate 670 military dependents from Incirlik Air Base, Ismir, and Mugla.

"There's no specific threat that triggered this," Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook told reporters Tuesday. "This was a decision made out of an abundance of caution."

The decision to move families and civilians was made "in consultation with the Government of Turkey, our State Department, and our Secretary of Defense," according to a statement from Gen. Philip M. Breedlove, the head of U.S. European Command.

One hundred military dependents based in Ankara and Istanbul will not be affected by the orders.

The Pentagon deemed it appropriate for military family members to stay in those two Turkish cities "because of the security environment there and some of the precautions in place," Cook said.

The action is not a permanent decision to end family stays at the facilities, according to a joint statement by the Department of Defense and the State Department.

Incirlik will continue to play a key role in U.S.-Turkey operations against Islamic State, the statement said.

The announcement comes hours after White House National Security Adviser Susan Rice and Secretary of State John Kerry met with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu. However, a defense official told VOA the timing was "purely coincidental."

"There is nothing specifically we heard from the Turks," Cook added.

(Isabela Cocoli contributed to this report.)

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    Carla Babb

    Carla is VOA's Pentagon correspondent covering defense and international security issues. Her datelines include Ukraine, Turkey, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq and Korea.