No obstacle to extension of German troops at İncirlik base, says German lawmaker
DHA PhotoA German lawmaker, who was among the group of parliamentarians visiting German troops at the Turkish air base İncirlik after a ban was recently lifted, has said the visit paved the way for the German Parliament to vote to extend the deployment of nearly 240 German troops stationed at the base.
“The Bundestag has got access to the troops and that means nothing stands in the way of an extension of the German military mission in December,” Karl Lamers, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative Christian Democrats, told the RND newspaper group on Oct. 5, according to Reuters.
MPs had threatened to end the deployment when its mandate expires in December.
Christian Democrat deputies Lamers, Ingo Gaedechens and Florian Hahn, Social Democrat deputies Rainer Arnold and Karl Heinz Brunner, Left party deputy Alexander S. Neu and Green party deputy Agnieszka Brugger landed at the İncirlik base, located in the southern Turkish province of Adana on the afternoon of Oct. 5, during which they visited the German troops at İncirlik.
Relations between Ankara and Berlin were strained after the Bundestag passed a bill that described as genocide the killing of Anatolian Armenians during the First World War.
Strained relations between Ankara and Berlin due to the Armenian bill worsened after Turkey rejected a German parliamentary delegation’s visit in late June to the base.
The German Air Force is keeping six Tornado surveillance jets, one refueling plane, and around 250 troops at İncirlik, in order to contribute to the U.S.-led coalition against ISIL in Iraq and Syria. Also stationed at İncirlik are jets from other countries including the United States, France, Britain, Saudi Arabia, Denmark and Qatar.
In September, the Turkish government issued permission for German MPs to conduct the visit.
The German parliamentarians’ trip took place with little publicity, which was closed to media.
Lamers, during a press conference in Turkey’s western province of İzmir on Oct. 5, said German lawmakers had an “open, honest” dialogue with Turkish officers and there were no restrictions on their ability to move around the base.
“I would like to express that we have contributed to melting the ice between Germany and Turkey with the contact we have made over two days,” state-run Anadolu Agency quoted Lamers as saying in İzmir on Oct. 5.
Another German lawmaker, Brugger, told RND that housing facilities for the German troops at the base were not satisfactory. Germany plans to invest 58 million euros to improve infrastructure at the base, including new quarters for troops.