Germany begins withdrawing troops from Turkish air base
BERLIN/ANKARA – ReutersGermany began on July 9 to pull its troops out of a Turkish air base where they have supported international operations against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) following a row with Ankara over access, a German defense ministry spokesman said.
The withdrawal from the Incirlik base in the southern province of Adana, approved by the German parliament last month, marks a further step in one of many bilateral disputes.
German tornado jets were due to keep operating out of Incirlik at least until the end of July as part of a mission providing reconnaissance aircraft to support U.S.-led coalition operations against ISIL.
In the meantime the necessary material was to be moved to a new air base in Jordan, where the planes are scheduled to be deployed by October.
A German air tanker refueller left Incirlik for the Jordan base on July 9, the ministry spokesman told Reuters.
A Turkish official confirmed that the withdrawal had started, saying Germany’s defense minister had informed her Turkish counterpart of the withdrawal date when they met during the NATO summit in Brussels.
Turkey had refused to allow German lawmakers to make what they saw as a routine visit to the base, saying that Berlin needed provide a list of MS who would visit the base.
Germany had banned some Turkish politicians from campaigning on its soil for an April 16 referendum on a major constitution change.
Ankara responded by accusing Berlin of “Nazi-like” tactics and reigniting the dispute over Incirlik.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on July 8 that a bilateral meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had revealed “deep differences” between the two NATO allies.