Germany moves closer to withdrawing troops from Turkish air base

Germany moves closer to withdrawing troops from Turkish air base
Germany's cabinet backs the relocation of 230 troops from Turkey following a row between Ankara and Berlin over access to the soldiers.
2 min read
07 June, 2017
Germany will remove its troops following a diplomatic spat with Ankara [Anadolu]

Germany on Wednesday came closer to withdrawing its troops from the Incirlik airbase after the country's cabinet backed the move.

The troops,who number 280, will likely be moved to Jordan after Turkey refused German lawmakers access to the soldiers there.

Ankara rejected the routine request saying that Berlin must first improve its attitude towards Turkey.

"Given that Turkey is currently not in a position to allow German parliamentarians the right to visit Incirlik, the cabinet today agreed to move the Bundeswehr (armed forces) from Incirlik to Jordan," Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen told reporters.

The row over Incirlik was reignited after Germany banned some Turkish politicians from campaigning in Germany, where there is a significant Turkish population.

Ankara indignantly accused Berlin of "Nazi-like" tactics in response to Germany's decision. 

Von der Leyen said immediate talks would be held with the US military and the international anti-IS coalition to set a timetable for the troop transfer.

The withdrawal of German refeuling craft is expected to take two to three weeks, while the moving of reconnaisance jets could take two to three months, she added.

A last ditch attempt to prevent the pullout was made by German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel on Monday, however Turkey reiterated their refusal of the visit for "domestic political reasons".

Despite the withdrawal, German Chancellor Angela Merkel stressed that Berlin and Ankara must maintain relations in order to preserve their mutual interests.

"We have a huge range of common interests with Turkey and also close economic relations so discussions are very necessary," she said, while also highlighting the migrant crisis.