America’s Partner in Law

  • Published
  • 39th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

At the 39th Air Base Wing, Turkish local national employees are integrated into most units, providing cultural expertise and fostering connections with Turkish Air Force allies and community partners.


For over 40 years, Mehmet Nur Tanisik has been the host nation attorney advisor at the 717th Air Base Squadron in Ankara.


The 39th ABW currently has four host nation attorney advisors. One is at Incirlik Air Base, one is in Izmir, and two, including Tanisik, are in Ankara. With his tenure and experience, Tanisik has become the senior host nation attorney advisor.


“Our host nation attorney advisors are integral members of our 39th Air Base Wing legal team,” said Lt. Col. Laura Rodgers, 39th ABW staff judge advocate. “Their deep understanding of Turkish law and culture is crucial to our continued mission success.”


His job includes assisting the U.S. Department of Justice on all litigation related to the 39th Air Base Wing and cases filed against the U.S. government, along with providing relevant, timely legal advice to the 717th ABS commander.


In July of 1980, Tanisik originally applied for his position to improve his English-language skills and further his career in law. This decision began his journey in U.S. government service and would later lead to winning several awards from the U.S. Air Force, publishing his own books and representing the American Armed Forces in courts of law.


Throughout his 40 years, Tanisik has had many memorable cases ranging from payment issues regarding Incirlik Air Base to drafting diplomatic notes for the U.S. Embassy. Tanisik expressed pride in the fact that he has worked as legal counsel for the U.S. Air Force in all cases related to local national employee strikes in Turkey since 1980.


“The most important one was the 1998 [labor union] strike,” he said.


Fearing for his safety, Tanisik moved from his home in Ankara to Incirlik AB and stayed there for almost three months.


“My car was parked at the Official Document Center compound and was damaged by an unknown person who slashed my tires and damaged the paint,” he added.


Despite the setbacks, Tanisik has been persistent in supporting the U.S. Air Force mission, representing the U.S. Government in civil cases in Turkish courts, and he has even received power of attorney by the U.S. Department of Justice to act on behalf of the U.S. Government.


Tanisik’s reputation precedes him, even among the most senior leaders at the 39th Air Base Wing.


“Knowing your outreach and that people are telling me that I can trust you to take care of [things] is a boost of confidence,” said Col. Jason Gingrich, 39th ABW commander. “I really appreciate everything that you have done over all of these years.”


Tanisik has earned the U.S. Air Forces in Europe, Air Forces Africa Outstanding Civilian Attorney of the Year award four times and the Air Force Outstanding Civilian Attorney of the Year in 2003. 


“It really makes me feel like they appreciate my work throughout all of these years,” he said.


39th ABW leaders recently recognized Tanisik’s commitment and decades of service by rewarding him with a certificate of service.