10:06 GMT27 February 2020
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    Berlin is facing calls to withdraw its military forces from all bases in Turkey, after Ankara finally agreed to allow German Bundestag deputies to visit the Konya base – but only as part of a NATO visit.

    The German government is being urged to take a stand against the Turkish government by withdrawing its troops from all bases in Turkey, after Bundestag deputies were finally allowed to visit troops at the NATO base in Konya on Friday – but only thanks to an intervention by NATO.

    The agreement is "more kowtowing to Turkish President Erdogan," German Bundestag deputy for the leftist Die Linke party, Sevim Dagdelen, told Sputnik Deutschland.

    "The Bundeswehr is a parliamentary army. The Bundestag determines Bundeswehr deployments, not the NATO Secretary General. The question is whether we accept that our principles are being disregarded in Turkey," Dagdelen said.

    "If our right to visit is disregarded, my party will demand the withdrawal of all soldiers from Turkey," she continued.

    Military expert Juergen Rose told Sputnik that despite the difficulties, a complete withdrawal from Turkey would carry a high political cost for Berlin.

    "There would be collateral damage that the federal government is not willing to risk," Rose said, adding that to withdraw troops from Konya too would aggrieve other NATO partners, a risk Germany is not willing to take.

    "The federal government wants to avoid any collateral damage with the [NATO] alliance."

    Up to 25 German pilots are usually deployed at Konya, taking part in anti-Daesh airborne reconnaissance missions using AWACS aircraft. While accepting the terms of the visit, the Bundestag deputies remain indignant that the visit to Konya was not headed by the Bundestag, but rather by the NATO Parliamentary Assembly.

    Berlin started pulling out its troops from the Incirlik base in July after the Turkish government repeatedly prevented German deputies from visiting the military there.

    In May, a group of German deputies were prevented from coming to Incirlik in retaliation at Berlin's decision to offer asylum to a group of Turkish soldiers who sought refuge in Germany following last July's failed military putsch.

    A group of politicians were prevented from a visit in June 2016, after the German Bundestag passed a resolution that recognized the 1915 Armenian Genocide.

    Germany's deployment at Incirlik, which is mainly used by Turkish and US armed forces, began in January 2016 and involved the deployment of Tornado jets, aircraft tankers and some 260 Bundeswehr soldiers. German aircraft and service personnel are carrying out non-combat roles personnel in US-led anti-Daesh operations, including reconnaissance missions and refueling for coalition aircraft. 

    Since relations with Turkey deteriorated, the German defense ministry has decided to transfer its anti-Daesh operations to the Al-Asrak base in Jordan.


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