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.

Germany sent 250 soldiers, Tornado jets and tanker aircraft to the base last year in support of the US-led coalition against the Islamic State group, but a diplomatic rift between Berlin and Ankara has prompted Turkey to block German lawmakers from visiting the base.

As a result, the Bundeswehr is considering Jordan and Cyprus as alternative bases for its troops, 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 Spiegel.

Bundeswehr deployments require regular parliamentary approval, and the current mandate for Turkey runs out in December.

"We would like to continue our mission in support of the coalition from Turkey, but there are alternatives ... to the Incirlik base," a Defence Ministry spokesman told Spiegel.

Strained relations between Germany and Turkey deteriorated further in May, when the German parliament voted to declare the 1915-1916 massacre of Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman Empire a genocide.

Turkey accepts that many Armenians were killed during the conflict, but vehemently rejects that the killings constitute genocide.

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