German defence minister wants to keep troops in Turkey despite row

Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen said Thursday that Germany wants to keep supporting the US-led campaign against the Islamic State from Turkey's Incirlik air base, but acknowledged there were "fallback procedures" in case withdrawal becomes necessary.

"The Bundeswehr would like to continue the joint campaign against (Islamic State) from the NATO base Incirlik," von der Leyen told the Redaktionsnetzwerk media group, adding that "savvy military planning always includes fallback procedures."

The minister was responding to reports that the Bundeswehr is preparing for the withdrawal of its troops and military equipment from Incirlik due to a diplomatic rift between Berlin and Ankara that has prompted Turkey to block German lawmakers from visiting the base.

As a result, the German army is considering Jordan and Cyprus as alternative bases for its 250 troops, six Tornado jets and tanker aircraft, news magazine Der Spiegel reported, citing army sources.

The move would force the Bundeswehr's mission in Iraq and Syria to be interrupted for a period of two months.

"If visiting the soldiers is not made possible, there cannot be an extension of the mandate," Social Democrat lawmaker and defence expert Rainer Arnold told Der Spiegel.

In depth coverage

Germany plans for troop withdrawal from Turkey amid row

The German army is preparing for the withdrawal of its troops and military equipment from the Incirlik air base in Turkey's south-east, news magazine Der Spiegel reported Thursday.

Read more
Last update: Thu, 25/08/2016 - 10:24
Last update: Thu, 25/08/2016 - 16:52

More from Europe

Police suspect tear gas in London City airport "chemical incident"

Police said they suspected CS gas could have caused a "chemical incident" that led to a three-hour evacuation of ...

EU summit fails to break Belgian impasse over Canada trade deal

EU leaders ended two days of talks Friday with a failure to break a regional blockade to a landmark deal the bloc is...

Germany's economy "has many problems," Italian premier Renzi says

Germany has "many" economic problems, including a large trade surplus which violates European Union rules, the...

Tusk: EU leaders agree on need for better tools against cheap imports

EU leaders have made progress on ramping up the bloc's protection against unfairly cheap imports, European Council...

Catalonia to uphold bullfighting ban despite veto by top court

The Spanish region of Catalonia wants to uphold its ban on bullfighting despite the ban being overturned by the...