German Troops to Leave Turkey Base

German Troops to Leave Turkey Base
German Troops to Leave Turkey Base

Angela Merkel’s cabinet agreed on Wednesday to withdraw its troops from Turkey’s Incirlik base, after last-ditch talks with Ankara failed to resolve an escalating row.

The military personnel, Tornado surveillance jets and other hardware-deployed as part of the international coalition against the self-styled Islamic State terrorist group-will be moved to Jordan’s Asraq base instead, said Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen, the German website reported.

Germany has had more than 250 troops stationed in Incirlik, flying surveillance missions over Syria and refueling flights for partner nations battling the IS terrorists.

But the deployment has become a bone of contention after Ankara repeatedly refused to allow German lawmakers to visit the base.

Ankara had first denied German parliamentarians the right to travel to the site for several months last year, angered by a Bundestag vote to recognize the Ottoman Empire’s World War I-era massacre of Armenians as genocide.

A fresh row over lawmakers’ visits to the airbase erupted last month.

Berlin has argued that it cannot deploy its soldiers in places which lawmakers are unable to visit, given that all military missions are mandated by the parliament.

Von der Leyen said the Azraq airbase in Jordan would be a new base for Germany’s troops.

“The transfer would disrupt its air refueling missions by two or three weeks, while Tornado surveillance flights would cease for two to three months,” she said.

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