Top politician won't rule out German troop withdrawal from Turkey

A leading member of Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative Christian Democrats declined on Tuesday to rule out Berlin withdrawing troops stationed in Turkey as a result of Ankara's ban on delegations of German lawmakers visiting the nation.

It must "once again be made clear that the Bundestag generally only agrees to the deployment of German soldiers abroad in principal when they are needed in international missions and are welcome," said Norbert Lammert, who is speaker of the Bundestag, the lower house of German Parliament.

In the case of the Turkish air base Incirlik, where about 270 German troops are stationed as part of the international fight against the extremist militia Islamic State, Lammert told the daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung it should be known that the soldiers "which are not welcome do not stay permanently."

Turkish officials have blocked German political delegations from visiting Incirlik, which the German army uses as a base for its Tornado reconnaissance jets.

Turkish-German relations have deteriorated since June 2, when the Bundestag declared as genocide the killings a century ago of as many as 1.5 million Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman Empire, of which Turkey is the successor state.

Merkel met Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday on the sidelines of a NATO summit in Warsaw for the first time since the Bundestag vote, but they failed to come to an agreement on access to Germany's troops in Turkey.

Last update: Tue, 12/07/2016 - 13:10

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