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Germany to deploy soldiers from Incirlik after Ankara’s insistence to deny access

Berlin has no choice but to withdraw the deployment of German soldiers from the strategic air base in Incirlik, in Southeast Turkey, German foreign minister Sigmar Gabriel said on Monday. The statement comes during an official visit of the German foreign minister to Turkey and short after Prime Minister Binali Yildirim unexpectedly cancelled a scheduled meeting with Gabriel. Yildirim cited “an overload” on his agenda.

The diplomatic row between Turkey and Germany reached its peak when Ankara insisted on denying access to the air base to German members of the Parliament.

At a joint press conference with Gabriel, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Monday that Ankara will continue to block a delegation of German lawmakers from visiting the strategic Incirlik air base.

“At the moment, a visit to the NATO base in Konya is possible, not Incirlik,” Cavusoglu said.

Gabriel said he was “saddened” by the decision, adding that Berlin would evaluate the proposed visit to the base in Konya. He also stated that there was “no decision” yet taken over the possible relocation of German soldiers stationed at the İncirlik base.

Map of Turkey showing the location of the strategic Incirlik air base

Turkey’s decision raises the likelihood that Germany’s parliament will push through with the withdrawal of the Bundeswehr deployment at Incirlik.

Last month, Ankara blocked the delegation from making the visit, marking the second time Turkey had done so. Turkish officials said their decision was a response to Germany granting asylum to Turkish military personnel accused of participating in a failed coup last year.

“If Germany takes one step forward toward us, we will always take two steps further,” Cavusoglu said. “We would not like to see members of FETO (Fethullah Terror Organization) take shelter in friendly country Germany.”

Meanwhile, Turkey brought all possible and impossible problems between the two countries on the agenda and claimed also that Germany hosts fighters of the Kurdish PKK.

German authorities have considered several countries for the relocation of the troops, including Jordan.

‘We must transfer German soldiers’

Germany’s foreign minister said that Turkey’s decision effectively means that Berlin will have to withdraw the Bundeswehr deployment from the airbase.

“Turkey has made clear that, for domestic reasons, it cannot approve visits of all lawmakers,” Gabriel said.

“I regret that, but Turkey must understand that for domestic political reasons, we must transfer German soldiers out of Incirlik … In this situation, the Bundestag will ask the government to find another location for the German soldiers in Incirlik.”

German authorities have reviewed several locations to redeploy the German division stationed at Incirlik, including Jordan, Kuwait and Cyprus.

The German deployment at Incirlik provides support to the US-led coalition against the “Islamic State.”Analysts have warned of the possible impact their withdrawal could have on the upcoming operation recapture the “Islamic State’s” de facto capital Raqqa in Syria. (deutschewelle, hurriyetailynews)

PS I see majority of Germans on Twitter want deployment of German soldiers NOW! Let’s see if Berlin will bow to Turkey’s blackmails.

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