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.

In depth coverage

German army tightens security at Turkey NATO base

The German army, the Bundeswehr, has increased security precautions for its soldiers at the Incirlik NATO base in southern Turkey, a spokesman told dpa Tuesday in Potsdam.

Read more
Last update: Wed, 03/08/2016 - 10:21

Turkey: Germany recognizing Armenian genocide is "historic mistake"

Germany's parliament has made a "historic mistake" in recognizing the Armenian genocide, Turkey's government spokesman Numan Kurtulmus says.

Read more
Last update: Thu, 02/06/2016 - 14:09

Turkey: Armenia bill attempt to "assimilate" Turks in Germany

The Turkish Foreign Ministry slams Germany's parliament for recognizing the Ottoman Empire's killing of Armenians as genocide, calling it a "disgrace" and pledging to take unspecified legal measures in response.

Read more
Last update: Thu, 02/06/2016 - 18:23

Turkish minister tells Germany to focus on Holocaust, not "slander"

Germany should focus on its role in atrocities during World War II, and not the Armenians during World War I, Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag says, according to state-run news agency Anadolu.

Read more
Last update: Thu, 02/06/2016 - 18:27
Last update: Thu, 25/08/2016 - 10:24

More from Europe

Merkel faces toughest challenge yet as she looks to win fourth term

Angela Merkel is set to secure the backing of her conservative party at its conference next week for a fourth term...

Armed robbery at Paris travel agency ends without casualties

An armed robbery on Friday at a Paris travel agency has ended without casualties.

Iceland president asks Pirate Party to attempt to form government

Iceland's president on Friday gave the leader of the anti-establishment Pirate Party the task of forming the next...

Italy referendum campaign ends amid claims of postal vote fraud

Italy's political leaders entered their final hours of campaigning on Friday in a constitutional referendum whose...

Gate stolen from former Nazi concentration camp "found" in Norway

German police are investigating whether a gate bearing the sign "Arbeit macht frei" (work sets you free) that was...