The German Ministry of Defense announced Wednesday that last German soldiers stationed at İncirlik Air Base in Turkey have left to be relocated in Jordan. The announcement said that the transfer of troops to Al-Azraq Airbase in Jordan will be largely completed with the arrival of the Tornado reconnaissance aircraft in the first weeks of November, adding that German soldiers completed the withdrawal on Sept. 27.
Although Germany is moving to the base in Jordan, there is still a question about whether German soldiers at Al-Azraq will be subjected the Jordanian legal system, which incorporates elements of Sharia law.
German authorities have long been demanding a deal through which Germany would be able to take its soldiers back home if they are accused of any crimes, as secular courts often hand down harsh sentences, including the death penalty, which is banned in Germany.
The German magazine Der Spiegel reported on Aug. 27 that Germany seeks immunity in Jordan for 250 soldiers who are part of the U.S.-led campaign against Daesh. The report says Jordan balked at the demand. Jordanian Justice Minister Awad Abu Jarad, speaking to German media, said, "We must be sure that legal violations are actually punished. It is also necessary to clarify how civil law claims are to be handled." Earlier this summer, Germany pulled its troops from Turkey's İncirlik Air Base after a political row with Ankara. The İncirlik crisis began after Ankara barred a German parliamentary delegation from visiting the German troops at the air base.
Ankara harshly criticized Berlin, accusing it of harboring terrorists and double standards in the run-up to the April 16 referendum. PKK sympathizers have long used Germany as a safe haven for activities, including recruitment and collecting financial support, as well as holding rallies in German cities despite the group being listed as a terrorist organization by the EU, U.S. and Turkey.
In addition, after the July 15, 2016 coup attempt in Turkey, suspected Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) members have sought asylum in Germany despite being wanted by Ankara for their alleged involvement in the coup attempt. Following the crisis, the withdrawal was put to vote. German parliament had agreed on relocating its troops to Jordan on June 21.