German defence minister wants to keep troops in Turkey despite row

Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen said Thursday that Germany wants to keep supporting the US-led campaign against the Islamic State from Turkey's Incirlik air base, but acknowledged there were "fallback procedures" in case withdrawal becomes necessary.

"The Bundeswehr would like to continue the joint campaign against (Islamic State) from the NATO base Incirlik," von der Leyen told the Redaktionsnetzwerk media group, adding that "savvy military planning always includes fallback procedures."

The minister was responding to reports that the Bundeswehr is preparing for the withdrawal of its troops and military equipment from Incirlik due to a diplomatic rift between Berlin and Ankara that has prompted Turkey to block German lawmakers from visiting the base.

As a result, the German army is considering Jordan and Cyprus as alternative bases for its 250 troops, six Tornado jets and tanker aircraft, news magazine Der Spiegel reported, citing army sources.

The move would force the Bundeswehr's mission in Iraq and Syria to be interrupted for a period of two months.

"If visiting the soldiers is not made possible, there cannot be an extension of the mandate," Social Democrat lawmaker and defence expert Rainer Arnold told Der Spiegel.

In depth coverage

Germany plans for troop withdrawal from Turkey amid row

The German army is preparing for the withdrawal of its troops and military equipment from the Incirlik air base in Turkey's south-east, news magazine Der Spiegel reported Thursday.

Read more
Last update: Thu, 25/08/2016 - 10:24
Last update: Thu, 25/08/2016 - 16:52
Author: 

More from Europe

Political veteran Doris Leuthard elected Swiss president for 2017

Centre-right politician Doris Leuthard will serve as Swiss president next year, the parliament decided Wednesday in...

Merkel's CDU gets tough on migration, taking aim at dual citizenship

Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative Christian Democrats (CDU) want to sharpen up Germany's migrant rules with a...

Today's Europe is lacking forward-looking leaders, Pope Francis says

Europe today has no forward-looking leaders, according to Pope Francis, who hailed the postwar generation of...

British regulator fines Pfizer 84 million pounds for overcharging

A British government regulator fined global drugs giant Pfizer a record 84.2 million pounds (106.4 million dollars)...

EU Commission fines trio of banks 485 million euros for rate fixing

Credit Agricole, HSBC and JPMorgan Chase must pay 485 million euros (520 million dollars) in fines for manipulating...