16:05 GMT21 January 2021
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    German Chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters Thursday after arriving at the NATO summit in Brussels that she is going to "clearly indicate" in talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that Germany will leave the Incirlik airbase if German lawmakers are now allowed to visit it.

    BERLIN (Sputnik) — Merkel told reporters Thursday after arriving at the NATO summit in Brussels that she is set to discuss the dispute over Bundestag members' visit to the airbase in Turkey where German military is stationed.

    "I will clearly indicate in the conversation with the Turkish president that, since we have a parliamentary army, members of the German Bundestag should be able to visit our soldiers. Otherwise we will have to leave Incirlik," Merkel said.

    On Wednesday, when commenting on the issue, Erdogan wished Germany a "happy journey" if Berlin decides to withdraw its forces from Incirlik.

    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.

    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.


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