German troops to leave Turkey’s İncirlik base in July
BERLINThe relocation to Jordan of German troops stationed at the İncirlik air base in southern Turkey will start by the end of this month, Germany’s defense minister has said.
In an interview with daily Bild am Sonntag, Ursula von der Leyen said the German forces will continue being a part of the international coalition against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
German refueling aircraft are expected to be moved to the Azraq air base in Jordan by mid-July, von der Leyen added.
“For us, the most important thing is to keep the moving phase - during which jets cannot fly - as short as possible, as well as maintaining the security of our own troops,” she said.
“By the end of June we will be firmly within the schedule of the anti-ISIL coalition. Then we will move the tankers to Jordan as soon as possible. They will be back in action after a few days, around the second half of July. The move of the tornadoes and the complex evaluation technique for aerial photos is more complicated, it will take two months, from August to September. From October, the reconnaissance tornados will start again, according to the plan,” von der Leyen stated.
Germany has stationed six Tornado surveillance jets and a tanker aircraft at the İncirlik base since 2015, along with around 260 personnel, providing intelligence and logistics support for anti-ISIL operations.
On June 7, Berlin announced that German troops stationed in the southern Turkish base would be moved to a military facility in Jordan over the coming months, after Ankara blocked visits by German lawmakers to the German soldiers stationed at the base.