18:17 GMT +323 October 2019
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    A technician works on a German Tornado jet at the NATO air base in Incirlik, Turkey. (File)

    Turkey Leads 'Mutiny' in NATO by Denying German Lawmakers Access to NATO Base

    © AFP 2019 / Tobias Schwarz
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    The Turkish government has refused to allow German lawmakers to visit NATO soldiers stationed at the Incirlik airbase. In an interview with Radio Sputnik, political analyst Yuri Pochta described Ankara's decision as a "mutiny."

    "Turkey's relations with Germany have taken a sharp downturn in recent months since Ankara has chosen to adopt an independent stance in NATO, as well as with regard to the European Union and the United States. Turkey's relationship with the West has acquired a new dimension. Turkey has started exerting pressure on and blackmailing Germany with its attitude toward German journalists, lawmakers and service personnel. Take the situation around Incirlik for instance. Essentially, Recep Tayyip Erdogan has challenged Angela Merkel," the analyst said.

    Approximately 250 German soldiers are stationed at Incirlik as part of the US-led counterterrorism operation in the Middle East.

    This is not the first time that Ankara blocked access to NATO troops stationed at Incirlik to German lawmakers. A similar standoff took place last year after Bundestag adopted a resolution recognizing the 1915 massacre of ethnic Armenians by the Ottoman Empire as genocide.

    Ankara's position has prompted Berlin to review its deployment to Turkey. High-ranking officials, including Chancellor Angela Merkel, Defense Ministry spokesman Jens Flosdorff and Chairman of the Bundestag Defense Committee Wolfgang Hellmich, have indicated that Germany could move its troops to another country, with Jordan named as a likely alternative.

    "I think that a switch to Jordan would not really affect anything. … Jordan appears to be a more reliable partner of the West in this case. Turkey has become increasingly unpredictable. This is why the idea of moving [Germany troops elsewhere] is not without merit. The cost of such an operation and whether Germany has enough funds to make it happen is another issue," Pochta said.

    Should Berlin opt to move its soldiers and military equipment out of Incirlik, the decision would spark a "major scandal" in NATO.

    "In general, the way Ankara acts when it comes to Incirlik is unacceptable among allies. This is a 'mutiny' on Turkey's part and a crisis within NATO," he said.

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