German cabinet agrees to move air forces from Turkey to Jordan

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Germany’s cabinet announced today that they supported the withdrawal of the German Federal Armed Forces, or Bundeswehr, from the Incirlik air base citing diplomatic disputes between the two nations.

"Given that Turkey is currently not in a position to allow German parliamentarians the right to visit Incirlik, the cabinet today agreed to move the Bundeswehr from Incirlik to Jordan," Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen told reporters for Deutche Welle.

Von der Leyen went on to say that King Abdullah of Jordan supported the move. However this could delay refueling missions by approximately two to three weeks and surveillance flights by up to two or three months.

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım responded to the decision by saying the German government can “remove its troops however it wants,” according to Turkish Hurriyet Daily News.

“There is no decision we have taken on this. They can have it their own way,” Yıldırım told reporters on June 6 at parliament. 

Turkey refused to allow lawmakers from Germany to make a routine visit to the strategic air base in the southern city of Adana last month.

Even though Germany’s cabinet has recommended withdrawing their troops from Incirlik, parliament will have the last say. In Germany, the parliament regulates the movement armed forces. This means that the lawmakers, not the government, monitor all military activity.

Germany plans to hold immediate talks with the US and US-led coalition partners fighting ISIS to ensure the move, if approved, goes as smoothly as possible.

"Above all, we should organize the withdrawal so that there is no megaphone diplomacy where we trade insults," Gabriel told Deutschlandfunk radio on Tuesday. "We have no interest in pushing Turkey into a corner," Gabriel said.

The German Federal Armed Forces are part of the US led coalition to fight ISIS and use the Turkish air base to fly Tornado surveillance missions over Syria and refuel flights for partner nations. There are 280 military personnel currently stationed at Incirlik.

Ankara became angry when Berlin had previously banned Turkish politicians from campaigning in Germany ahead of Turkey's constitutional referendum citing security concerns. Turkey responded to the ban by accusing Berlin of “Nazi-like” tactics which just fueled disputes over Incirlik.

Sigmar Gabriel, Germany’s Foreign Minister visited Turkey on Monday in a last attempt to reestablish the diplomatic relationship between the two nations in order to avoid the pullout of German troops, but said that Turkey had refused once again due to “domestic political reasons.”

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