16:10 GMT26 November 2020
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    Germany has decided to give Ankara two weeks to resolve their dispute over the Incirlik air base, where German deputies were refused access to Bundeswehr troops earlier this month.

    The German government has given Turkey two weeks to resolve issues regarding Berlin's use of the Incirlik air base, or the Bundeswehr will move its contingent to a different base, German officials said on Friday.

    At a meeting for Bundestag deputies on Friday, officials from the foreign affairs and defense ministries said that they planned to hold two weeks of talks with Ankara over the issue, before taking a decision on whether to relocate, Spiegel Online reported.

    Incirlik is mainly used by the Turkish and US armed forces, but Germany has around 260 Bundeswehr soldiers, Tornado jets and aircraft tankers at the base, to assist with anti-Daesh operations.

    Berlin has threatened to move its contingent to Jordan, Kuwait or Cyprus after Turkey denied a group of Bundestag deputies the right to visit German troops at Incirlik, after they planned a visit on May 15.

    German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen addresses the Counter DAESH contingent at Incirlik airbase in the southern city of Adana, Turkey, July 1, 2016
    © REUTERS / Bundeswehr
    German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen addresses the Counter DAESH contingent at Incirlik airbase in the southern city of Adana, Turkey, July 1, 2016
    Turkey did so in retaliation at Germany's decision to offer asylum to a group of Turkish soldiers who sought refuge in Germany following last July's failed military putsch.

    Ankara's recent refusal is not the first time German deputies have been unable to visit Incirlik because of political differences. In June 2016 Bundestag deputies were also denied permission to visit the base after the German Bundestag passed a resolution that recognized the 1915 Armenian Genocide.

    In September 2016, the German defense ministry budgeted for the investment of €58 million ($65 million) in military infrastructure at Incirlik, including €26 million on an airfield for German Tornado reconnaissance aircraft and €30 million on a Luftwaffe command post, plans that will now be on hold.

    Last week, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that German deputies have an "inalienable" right to visit the troops, "otherwise we will have to leave Incirlik."

    She promised to raise the issue with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Brussels last week, but their 20-minute discussion failed to reach a compromise.

    For his part, Erdogan said that Germany's exit from Incirlik would not present a problem for Ankara.

    "If that is what they want to do, it's not a big problem for us. If they go, we will say, 'goodbye,' nothing further," The Turkish President said.

    According to Spiegel Online, German diplomats put a brave face on the dispute on Friday, telling the Bundestag that they had managed to get permission from Turkey for deputies to visit forces at the NATO airbase in Konya, where German crew are taking part in airborne reconnaissance missions using AWACS aircraft.


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    German Armed Forces, German Bundestag, Luftwaffe, Bundeswehr, German Foreign Ministry, Angela Merkel, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Incirlik Airbase, Germany, Turkey
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