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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Berlin Approves Withdrawal of German Troops From Incirlik Airbase in Turkey

Sputnik News

12:54 07.06.2017(updated 15:30 07.06.2017)

The German cabinet has approved a decision to withdraw troops from the Incirlik airbase in Turkey.

Germany will relocate some 260 servicemen and six Tornado jets (used for reconnaissance in Syria) as well as a refuelling aircraft to Jordan after Berlin and Ankara have failed to resolve a long-simmering stalemate residing in the Turkish side blocking German lawmakers from visiting the base.

The relocation to the Jordanian Azraq base will take some two or three months after the German parliament approves the step.

Germany deployed its military in Turkey after the November 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris to participate in the anti-Daesh campaign led by the United States. Berlin's activities included reconnaissance missions and refueling for coalition aircraft.

However, political differences such as Berlin's disapproval of Ankara's stern reaction to the failed July 2016 coup attempt and banning Turkish politicians from campaigning on German soil ahead of the constitution referendum strained relations between the sides.

"Incirlik is a good airbase for the fight against Daesh, but we cannot accept not being able to visit our soldiers," German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen said as quoted by Deutsche Welle.

On Monday, von der Leyen said that the Bundeswehr has received approval about the transfer from King Abdullah of Jordan and is "ready" to move troops and around 10,000 tons of equipment.

The conflict over German access to the base re-ignited last month after a group of German lawmakers were refused permission to visit troops at Incirlik.


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