Talks must continue with Ankara even after withdrawal from İncirlik air base, Merkel says
BERLIN - ReutersIt is important that Germany and its NATO ally Turkey keep talking even after German troops leave the Incirlik air base due to Ankara's refusal to allow German lawmakers access to its soldiers there, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on June 7.
"We have a huge range of common interests with Turkey and also close economic relations, so discussions are very necessary," Merkel told reporters after her cabinet backed the withdrawal of troops from the base.
The German cabinet on June 7 approved the withdrawal of troops stationed at the İncirlik air base in the southern Turkish province of Adana.
On June 6, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said the German government can “remove its troops however it wants” and the decision has “nothing to do with Turkey,” adding that German soldiers’ probable leaving of the İncirlik air base in southern Turkey would be of little consequence
His words followed Germany’s announcement that it will have to remove its troops and surveillance aircrafts based in the İncirlik base after Turkey repeatedly refused to allow German lawmakers to visit the base.
German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel held talks with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu on June 5 but he could only get Turkish consent for a visit to a base in Konya, where German troops are stationed as part of a NATO mission.