Turkey upholds Incirlik airbase ban for German lawmakers

Berlin has no choice but to withdraw the Bundeswehr deployment from the strategic base, said Germany's foreign minister. Authorities have considered several countries for the relocation of the troops, including Jordan.
A German warplaine at Incirlik
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Monday said that it 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 at a joint press conference with German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel.
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."
Map of Turkey showing the location of the strategic Incirlik air base
'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 political reasons, it cannot approve visits of all lawmakers," Gabriel said.
"I regret that, but Turkey must understand that for domestic 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.
Short-term setback
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.
But Major Rayk Hähnlein, defense expert at the Berlin-based German Institute for International and Security Affairs, told DW last month that while a withdrawal would have a short-term impact on the mission, it wouldn't undermine the entire operation.
"If prepared well and with full support from Jordan and US partners on the Jordanian base, Germany's absence would only be felt for several days or week," Hähnlein said.
Turkey upholds Incirlik airbase ban for German lawmakers Turkey upholds Incirlik airbase ban for German lawmakers Reviewed by Alexander Von Stern on 05:08:00 Rating: 5