22:02 GMT13 May 2021
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    The possible withdrawal of the German air force contingent from the Incirlik airbase in southern Turkey poses no problem for Ankara, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Wednesday.

    ANKARA (Sputnik) — Turkey blocked a group of German lawmakers from visiting the servicemen earlier in May prompting Chancellor Angela Merkel to suggest that Berlin may consider moving some 250 troops stationed at Incirlik to one of the neighboring countries.

    "We have not been officially notified by Germany that it is going to leave to Jordan from the Incirlik base," Erdogan said before traveling to Brussels to attend the NATO summit.

    "But if they do so, then for us it's not a problem. If they leave, we'll tell them "happy journey," the Turkish president stressed.

    In 2016, Berlin prolonged until the end of 2017 the deployment of six Tornado jets and hundreds of German personnel at the airbase despite strained relations between the two countries. German-Turkish relations deteriorated after the German parliament’s decision in June to label the 1915 massacre of Armenians by the Ottoman Empire as a genocide. Following this decision, Ankara restricted a delegation of German lawmakers from accessing the air base in June 2016. Nonetheless, in October, Turkey allowed the delegation to visit the base.

    In November 2016, German media reported that military officials have traveled to Jordan’s capital Amman to investigate a possible relocation of Tornado spy jets from southern Turkey.

    The Turkish Incirlik airbase stations hundreds of German personnel and several Tornado jets to carry out airstrikes against Daesh in Iraq and Syria alongside the United States and several other NATO member states.

    Incirlik airbase, NATO, Germany, Turkey
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