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    A German air force Tornado jet takes off from the German army Bundeswehr airbase in Jagel, northern Germany December 10, 2015

    Germany Refuses to Share Intelligence With Turkey, Fearing Its Use Against Kurds

    © REUTERS / Fabian Bimmer
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    The German Defense Ministry has announced that it will decline to share recently-collected intelligence with Turkey, for fear that Ankara will use the information in its military campaign against the Kurds.

    Berlin’s military jets, operating out of Turkey’s Incirlik air base, gathered reconnaissance photos as part of a global coalition fighting Daesh. Though Ankara is a member of this coalition, Germany has refused them unfiltered access to the images. 

    Germany’s military follows strict protocol with handling intelligence making sure it is only given "solely to the anti-Islamic State coalition" and that it is not being used for other purposes.

    Spiegel Online reported that the Turkish military has threatened German diplomats that Ankara will not approve improvements at Incirlik until they are given full access to the high-definition images.

    This tension comes amid already-strained relations between Turkey and Germany, an issue that came to the surface after the German parliament voted to recognize the Armenian Genocide in June 2016, a sore subject for the administration of Turkish President Recip Erdogan.

    Ankara recalled its ambassador to Germany as a result, and Chancellor Angela Merkel said at the time that "There is a lot that binds Germany to Turkey and even if we have a difference of opinion on an individual matter, the breadth of our links, our friendship, our strategic ties, is great." 

    Edward Nalbandian, the Armenian Foreign Minister, praised the Bundestag’s decision, saying "Germany's valuable contribution not only to the international recognition and condemnation of the Armenian Genocide, but also to the universal fight for the prevention of genocides [and] crimes against humanity."

    Germany, in considering moving the reconnaissance jets from the Turkish base late last year, saw its relationship with Ankara grew testy. 

    Berlin has also been very critical of Turkey’s crackdown on dissidents following the failed coup in July 2016, and Ankara has accused Germany of housing Kurdish militants.

    On Tuesday Merkel and Erdogan for the first time since the coup attempting to try to help the countries’ relationship, and discuss the importance of working together against terrorism.

    Merkel told reporters, "With the (attempted) putsch, we saw how the Turkish people stood up for democracy and for the rules of democracy," speaking on the issue of press freedom she added, "In such a time of profound political upheaval, everything must be done to continue to protect the separation of powers and above all freedom of opinion and the diversity of society."

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    Tags:
    intelligence gathering, reconnaissance flights, German Defense Ministry, German Bundestag, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Angela Merkel, Turkey, Germany
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