German army set to pull out of key Turkey base: Defence minister

Postado Junho 20, 2017

The German deployment at Incirlik is part of a mission providing reconnaissance aircraft to support US -led coalition operations against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

"Right now it is possible to visit the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation base in Konya (in central Turkey), not Incirlik", Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said at a news conference with his German counterpart Sigmar Gabriel in Ankara.

In response to Cavusoglu's announcement, the Germen FM said their army belongs to the German Parliament based on the Constitution, that's why the lawmakers' visit to their soldiers stationed at the Base is important.

Gabriel was speaking after a meeting in Ankara with his Turkish counterpart, Mevlut Cavusoglu, which had aimed to address the standoff over Incirlik and other diplomatic tensions between the two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies. Turkish Ministers who were campaigning for the support of expanding powers for Erdogan were prohibited from holding rallies in Germany.

Cavusoglu said German officials could visit troops in Konya, a smaller base in the west of the country, instead.

German-Turkish talks broke down in Ankara on Monday.

Ankara has been upset at a number of issues with Germany including the composition of several German Incirlik delegations to include lawmakers who have been openly supportive of the PKK - which is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the European Union and the U.S.

Germany is prepared to move its troops from the Incirlik base in Turkey to Jordan after Ankara denied German lawmakers a visit to the military airport over Berlin's refusal to extradite the alleged suspects in last year's failed coup attempt. "Of course, we would not like the tension to further deepen because of this", the German FM said. A formal decision on the withdrawal of the German military from Turkey has not yet been taken, and there is no plan for how this can happen.

This file photo taken on January 21, 2016 shows German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen chatting with soldiers during a visit of the German Armed Forces Bundeswehr at the air base in Incirlik, Turkey. Turkey's Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, in turn, cancelled a planned meeting with Gabriel, citing a busy schedule. Mrs Merkel said last month that Germany could redeploy its troops to Jordan, a non-Nato member.

Turkey-Germany relations have worsened soon after a chain of diplomatic rows.

Berlin is also anxious about a security crackdown in Turkey after last year's failed coup.

Commenting on the case of German-Turkish journalist Deniz Yucel, whom Turkey arrested in February on a charge of spreading terrorist propaganda, Cavusoglu said it was a matter for the courts.