German troops at Incirlik, Turkey 'ready for a transfer'


Taking a word from Hillary Clinton's dictionary, earlier this month, Merkel called Turkeys stance on visits to Incirlik “deplorable” and warned Germany may move the warplanes based there to a location outside Turkey, possibly Jordan.

Germany is to pull its troops and reconnaissance aircraft out of Turkey's Incirlik air base after Turkish officials refused to let members of parliament visit those stationed there.

The German government decided on Wednesday to withdraw its troops from Turkey's Incirlik base near the Syrian border after last-ditch talks with Ankara failed to resolve an escalating row.

The decision announced by German defence minister Ursula von der Leyen comes after a lengthy impasse over the visits and ongoing friction between Berlin and Ankara.

Turkey was infuriated when Germany, citing security concerns, banned some Turkish politicians from campaigning on its soil, where many Turks live.

"Above all, we should organize the withdrawal so that there is no megaphone diplomacy where we trade insults", Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel told Deutschlandfunk radio on Tuesday.

Turkey's ties with Germany and other European Union states deteriorated sharply in the run-up to Turkey's April 16 referendum that handed President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stronger presidential powers.

Making one last push to convince Ankara, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel held talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Mevlut Cavusoglu on Monday, but he could only get Turkish consent for a visit to a base in Konya, where a few German soldiers were stationed as part of a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation mission.

"If Germany takes positive steps, we will always take two (positive) steps".

Alliance chief Jens Stoltenberg revealed that he was in constant contact with Ankara and Berlin in an attempt to end the row.

The German Federal Armed Forces are part of the U.S. led coalition to fight ISIS and use the Turkish air base to fly Tornado surveillance missions over Syria and refuel flights for partner nations.

Gabriel said the Defense Ministry had concluded it now made more sense logistically to send Germany's Tornado jets to Jordan. He said he wanted to avoid further hurting ties with Turkey and pushing it towards Russian Federation.

A previous standoff over Incirlik past year was eventually resolved.

After the talks, Cavusoglu repeated that "we would not like to see members of FETO take shelter in friendly country Germany", referring to a movement led by US-based Muslim preacher Fethullah Gulen, whom Ankara accuses of orchestrating the failed coup.

"We have to respect that Turkey for domestic political reasons can not approve visits".