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Berlin Threatens Withdrawal from Turkish Air Base

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Parliamentarians are furious that they cannot visit German troops. Picture source: Reuters.

Berlin may have finally lost its patience with the Turkish government. For the second time in a year, Ankara has refused to let German parliamentarians visit 250 troops stationed at Incirlik air base. This time, German officials are openly threatening to pull the plug on the deployment if Ankara does not change its tune.

Ankara’s decision apparently came in retaliation for Germany granting asylum to several Turkish soldiers, who are fleeing the country amid a crackdown in the wake of a failed military coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. A year ago, the Turkish government refused to let German parliamentarians visit the troops at Incirlik, after the Bundestag approved a resolution calling the massacre of Armenians by the Ottoman Turks during WWI genocide.

Chancellor Angela Merkel called the Turkish decision unfortunate and said Berlin had made it clear to Ankara through multiple channels that parliamentarians must be able to visit German troops at the air base. Foreign Ministry spokesman Martin Schäfer said Turkey’s actions are “absolutely unacceptable.” Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel plans to raise the issue at a meeting of the anti-IS coalition in Washington in the coming days. Mr. Gabriel has already personally broached the issue with Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, apparently to no avail.

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