Turkey extends gesture to Germany at İncirlik despite dispute
Uğur Ergan – ANKARAGermany and Turkey have reached an agreement on the construction of a guesthouse for German military staff at the İncirlik Airbase in southern Turkey despite recent tension between Berlin and Ankara over a recent Armenian “genocide” resolution in the Bundestag.
“An agreement has been reached during talks with Turkey on the issue of the construction of a guesthouse for the military staff in İncirlik and the preparation of some infrastructure,” said a statement from the German Defense Ministry.
Speaking to daily Hürriyet, officials said talks would continue although the agreement had been reached following demands by German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen during a visit to İncirlik at the start of 2016. “There are still kinks on some issues. They should be ironed out, too,” said a Turkish official.
Germany has tornado jets, a tanker aircraft and a staff of nearly 300 person for maintenance and ground services at İncirlik. Germany plans to build a 400-person guest house for this staff, a coordination center for operations and additional hangars for the maintenance of aircraft.
Although the German Assembly recognized the “Armenian Genocide” on June 2, it is noteworthy that talks have continued between Ankara and Berlin for the needs of German soldiers.
Germany has deployed soldiers to İncirlik as part of the international fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
Turkish military sources said defense undersecretaries would mainly conduct the efforts for the construction of the guesthouse and other infrastructure works and that foreign undersecretaries could participate in the talks if necessary.
According to reports, Turkey has stipulated that the guesthouse, coordination center and hangars to be built by Germany be handed over to the Turkish Defense Ministry once the mission ends.
Prefabricated hangar for German aircraft
Within the scope of the fight against ISIL, prefabricated hangars have been recently established at İncirlik to provide protection for German aircraft at the base.
Thanks to the 22-meter-long and 7-meter-hight hangars, the staff will be able to work more comfortably in the hot weather, which often reaches 35 degrees in the summer.
According to Deutsche Welle’s website, the Tornado aircraft that Germany has deployed to İncirlik are conducting reconnaissance flights over ISIL targets in Syria and Iraq with the aid of high-resolution cameras called “Recce.”
The information received from these flights is used during the air operations of coalition powers. It is reported that the Tornado aircraft have so far made over 1,000 hours of reconnaissance flights.