Germany Withdraws Troops from Turkish Airbase

Published June 7th, 2017 - 02:00 GMT
German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen gives a statement to the media during a visit of the German Armed Forces Bundeswehr at the air base in Incirlik, Turkey, on January 21, 2016. (AFP)
German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen gives a statement to the media during a visit of the German Armed Forces Bundeswehr at the air base in Incirlik, Turkey, on January 21, 2016. (AFP)

The cabinet of German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday approved the withdrawal of Bundeswehr troops from the Incirlik airbase in south-eastern Turkey over a diplomatic row between the two countries, government sources told dpa.

German troops are stationed at Incirlik, located near the border with Syria, as part of the fight against Daesh "the Islamic State extremist group", but Turkey has imposed a ban on German lawmakers visiting the base. 

Lawmaker visits are considered necessary because Bundeswehr deployments require regular parliamentary approval.

The relocation of troops to Jordan is likely to begin later this month. German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen has been given a mandate to coordinate with NATO partners on how the absence will be handled.

Relocating the Bundeswehr's Tornado reconnaissance jets to the al-Azraq airbase in Jordan will take approximately two months, while its refuelling aircraft could be up and running within about two weeks, sources said.

A key aspect of the row between Berlin and Ankara related to Germany granting political asylum to Turkish soldiers and diplomats accused by Ankara of having links to the movement of Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen

Ankara accuses Gulen, who lives in the United States, of orchestrating last year's coup attempt in Turkey. Gulen denies the accusations and Washington has so far refused to extradite him.


© 2021 dpa GmbH

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