President Erdogan accuses Germany of refusing to hand over Turkish military personnel wanted in Turkey for their alleged involvement in last year’s failed coup, and also active members of the banned Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).
The German military pilots and other military personnel currently stationed at Incirlik are part of the US-led coalition fighting Daesh terrorists in Syria and Iraq.
Turkish experts are not inclined to overestimate the German role in the antiterrorist campaign though.
In an interview with Sputnik Turkey, Bilkent University analyst and former head of Turkish Army Veterans Council Korai Gurbuz said that the German pullout would hardly be felt in Turkey.
“If you asked me, Incirlik should be shuttered altogether. The withdrawal of NATO troops would be good for us and would only make the region safer,” he said.
There is more to the current conflict between Ankara and Berlin than meets the eye though. Essentially, it is a conflict between Turkey and NATO as such. Many in Turkey believe that the country should walk out of the North Atlantic Alliance.
This is what Dogu Perincek, the leader of the non-parliamentary Vatan party, said in an interview with Sputnik: “NATO helps those why are trying to divide Turkey. NATO is an imperialistic pact and is at the root of this crisis. Moreover, the US leadership in NATO is generating a crisis within NATO itself and this crisis will eventually tear it apart.”
Relations that have in the past few years existed between the two NATO allies can be described as lukewarm to say the least, and it looks like the recent meeting between Presidents Erdogan and Trump did little to make them any better.
German-Turkish relations started worsening after then the February 2017 arrest in Turkey of Deniz Yusel, a German-Turkish journalist working for Die Welt newspaper.
Yusel was arrested and detained on charges of supporting a terrorist organization and inciting public violence.
The situation worsened when German authorities banned pro-Erdogan rallies in Germany in the run-up to the referendum on giving additional powers to President Erdogan who was keen to ensure maximum voter support for proposed changes to the constitution.