Germany to announce decision on withdrawal of troops from Incirlik on Wednesday

Published 05.06.2017 19:32
Updated 06.06.2017 12:40
Germany to announce decision on withdrawal of troops from Incirlik on Wednesday

German Defense Minister Ursula Von Der Leyen told reporters in Berlin on Monday that Germany will announce its final decision on whether or not to withdraw its troops from the Incirlik air force base in southern Turkey on Wednesday this week.

"We will discuss further steps at Wednesday's cabinet meeting and take a decision," she said, adding they were "prepared to relocate troops", and that a relocation to a base in Jordan would likely take two to three months.

Earlier in the day, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu told his German counterpart, Sigmar Gabriel, that conditions were not suitable for a German visit to Incirlik at the current situation but that a visit to a NATO base in the central Konya province was welcome. He reiterated Turkey's concern about Germany's stance regarding terrorist groups including the PKK and the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) for the reason for maintaining the ban. The announcement left Germany on the verge of a likely decision to move its troops to Jordan.

However, Çavuşoğlu noted that Turkey may authorize the German delegation's visit to Incirlik if conditions between the two countries normalize.

In return, Gabriel had said Germany would have to end its mission in Incirlik and re-deploy them elsewhere for "domestic political reasons".

Tension between Turkey and Germany rose last week after a German parliamentary delegation was not allowed to visit the Incirlik Air Base, where German troops are stationed.

The move was in response to Germany's attitude towards Turkish deputies during the recent constitutional referendum period where Turkish officials were barred from holding meetings in Germany, drawing a strong reaction from the Turkish government.

In addition, Germany's uncooperative stance with regard to the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) has also been a source of tension as the country has been a safe haven for hundreds of FETÖ members, including high-ranking NATO military officers.

The two countries went through the same crisis almost a year ago. A German parliamentary defense commission delegation was not allowed to pay a visit to the Incirlik Air Base after the German parliament adopted a controversial resolution regarding the events of 1915.

Since 2015, Germany has stationed around 260 troops, six high-tech Tornado surveillance jets and a tanker aircraft at Incirlik Air Base.

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