germany, Merkel, Politik, Turkey

Angela Merkel says Germany will withdraw all its soldiers from Turkey over refused visit

It comes as Ankara blocks Berlin lawmakers from visiting troops stationed at Incirlik airbase.

angela merkel berlin

Angela Merkel addressed German-Turkish relations during a press conference in Berlin. REUTERS

Berlin will consider removing its soldiers from Turkey after Ankara refused to grant Germany's parliament permission to visit staff serving on a Turkish air base, Chancellor Angela Merkel said.

Turkey blocked German lawmakers from visiting the soldiers at Incirlik air base, who are serving in a NATO mission targeting Isis in Syria.

However Ms Merkel said it was “essential” that Germany’s defence committee is able to visit the near 270 troops stationed at the base.

"We will continue to talk with Turkey, but in parallel we will have to explore other ways of fulfilling our mandate," she said.

"That means looking at alternatives to Incirlik, and one alternative among others is Jordan."

Turkey issued the refusal over the weekend and suggested the reason was linked to Germany's decision to grant asylum to Turkish soldiers accused by Ankara of participating in last year's failed coup.

"This is unfortunate, and we have made this clear through various channels," Chancellor Angela Merkel said.

Defence Ministry spokesman Jens Flosdorff said the military is examining moving Germany's Tornado reconnaissance jets and a refueling plane from Incirlik to another country.

The Incirlik refusal, which follows a similar standoff last year, is the latest in a long line of irritants in Turkish-German relations.

Last summer, Turkey refused to allow German lawmakers to visit personnel stationed at Incirlik after a German parliament vote to label the slaughter of Armenians by Ottoman Turks a century ago as genocide.

At the beginning on May, Germany said it would block Turkish citizens in the country from voting in an upcoming referendum on reinstating capital punishment.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed to reinstate capital punishment during his victorious campaign ahead of last month’s vote to vastly expand his powers using constitutional amendments.

“It is politically inconceivable that we would agree to such a vote in Germany on a measure that clearly contradicts our constitution and European values,” government spokesman Steffen Seibert told a news conference.



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