10:26 GMT +319 November 2019
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    A military aircraft is pictured on the runway at Incirlik Air Base, in the outskirts of the city of Adana, southeastern Turkey

    ‘Impossible’ Situation? Germany Considers Pulling Jets, Troops Out Of Turkey

    © AFP 2019 / STR
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    German parliament member Rainer Arnold told reporters that Berlin must pull its weapons and soldiers from Turkey’s Incirlik Air Base, claiming that Ankara has been blocking official visits to the site.

    On Thursday, the German armed forces, known as the Bundeswehr, began considering moving of its operations, along with its Tornado reconnaissance jets, to Jordan or Cyprus. Turkey currently hosts around 240 German soldiers and six warplanes at the Incirlik base. The jets are currently being used in the conflict against Daesh. 

    Diplomatic disputes between the two countries have resulted in German lawmakers being banned from entering Incirlik, allowing only technical and military teams. The issue first began in June, after the German parliament passed a resolution calling the 1915 mass killing of Armenians in the former Ottoman empire a "genocide."

    "As lawmakers who send soldiers to places, we must know where they are, how they are and be able to talk to the soldiers,"  said Cem Özdemir, co-leader of Germany's Green Party. "If that is not possible in Turkey, then the soldiers must come back to Germany." 

    Reiner Arnold, defense spokesman for the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) said, "If we are not allowed to visit our soldiers, the continuation of the mandate is impossible." 

    But Ankara has held its position despite pressure from Berlin.

    "The German government must immediately find other bases for the German soldiers," said Arnold. Pulling out of Turkey has been called a  "nightmare," as it would raise costs, present daunting logistical challenges and end sorties against Daesh for at least two months. German troops would also be separated from US forces, who are leading the mission.

    The German Defense Ministry has not confirmed any plans to remove the tanker jets and Tornados from the Turkish base. One ministry spokesman was quoted as saying, "We would like to continue our mission from Turkey, but the Incirlik base is not the only option."


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