Defense minister meets German counterpart amid tension
BRUSSELSDefense Minister Fikri Işık met his German counterpart Ursula Von Der Leyen on June 29 amid dispute between the two nations over the withdrawal of Germany’s military deployment in the İncirlik air base in southern Turkey.
The two ministers came together on the sidelines of a NATO meeting in Brussels.
Germany decided to withdraw its military installations after Turkey refused German lawmakers to visit 250 German soldiers stationed at İncirlik, prompting them to move to Jordan’s Asraq base instead.
Germany sent troops, six Tornado surveillance jets and a tanker aircraft to İncirlik last year as part of the U.S-led fight against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants.
Berlin has argued that it cannot deploy its soldiers in places where lawmakers are unable to visit, given that all military missions are mandated by parliament.
The transfer would disrupt its air refueling missions by two or three weeks, while Tornado surveillance flights would cease for two to three months, Von der Leyen said early June.
Ties between the NATO allies have been strained since the failed coup in Turkey, and tensions have worsened over multiple issues including a referendum campaign to expand President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s powers.
Relations plunged further after Turkey imprisoned Deniz Yücel, a German-Turkish journalist with Die Welt daily, on terror charges earlier this year.