Germany OKs Plan to Pull Troops From Turkey's Incirlik Air Base
By VOA News June 21, 2017
Germany will withdraw 280 troops, as well as surveillance planes and refueling jets, from the Incirlik air base in Turkey following a decision by the German parliament on Wednesday. The troops will be relocated to a base in Jordan.
The move comes after Turkey refused German lawmakers access to the base, saying the diplomatic relationship between the countries needed to improve first. Germany has maintained a presence at Incirlik since 2014, when Turkey joined the coalition fighting ISIS.
"The German Bundestag (parliament) regrets very much that conditions for the continued stationing of the Bundeswehr in Incirlik are not met," the Bundestag said in a statement following their decision.
It is the latest example of diplomatic discord between the two NATO members.
In March, German Chancellor Angela Merkel banned Turkish politicians from campaigning on German soil, where 1.4 million Turkish voters live.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan compared Merkel's decision to "Nazi practices."
Officials from Erdogan's party intended to hold the rallies in support of a referendum to give sweeping powers to the Turkish president. Despite being barred from campaigning in German, the referendum succeeded anyway, worrying many that Turkey may be edging toward authoritarian rule.
In February, Turkey jailed German-Turkish journalist Deniz Yucel on charges of propaganda in support of a terrorist organization. While asking for his release, Germany has offered asylum to Turkish journalists, intellectuals and opposition political leaders wanted by the Erdogan government.
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