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German cabinet recommends moving Bundeswehr from Incirlik base

Germany's government has recommended pulling the Bundeswehr from the Incirlik air base. Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen said earlier that the troops at Incirlik could be moved from Turkey to a base in Jordan. Germany's cabinet on Wednesday recommended pulling troops from the Incirlik air base in Turkey. The Bundeswehr has about 280 military personnel stationed at Incirlik, from where they fly Tornado surveillance missions over Syria and refueling flights for partner nations in the coalition against the Islamic State (IS). Ahead of the meeting, Bundestag deputies sought to remind the cabinet that parliament has the last word on military deployments. "In all circumstances, the Bundestag, which has the relevant authority, must consider the new situation," Hans-Peter Bartels, the parliamentary ombudsman for the armed forces, told the RND newspaper group for reports published on Wednesday. A majority of deputies, including Greens and the legislators for the ruling Christian Democrats and their junior coalition partners, the Social Democrats, support moving the troops from Turkey to a nearby location. The Left would like to see the Bundeswehr pull out of its mission against IS entirely. 'We cannot accept' The pullout looked inevitable after testy talks on Monday between German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel and his counterpart in Ankara, Mevlut Cavusoglu, who said Turkey would block a Bundestag delegation from visiting troops stationed at Incirlik. German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen refused limits being put on lawmakers' ability to visit troops. "Incirlik is a good air base for the fight against Islamic State, but we cannot accept not being able to visit our soldiers," she said on Monday, adding that an alternative had been identified in Jordan's Azraq air base. She added that King Abdullah supports the move, which could halt refueling missions by two to three weeks and surveillance flights by two to three months. Gabriel quickly shifted to damage control mode. "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. Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said NATO would take no sides and lamented that the key alliance members had been unable to achieve their own diplomatic solution to what has been a long-running dispute. "It has no effect on NATO activities," Stoltenberg said in May. "The dispute is a bilateral issue between Turkey and Germany." A speaker from the Pentagon said the United States also had no official opinion on the matter.

Germany’s government has recommended pulling the Bundeswehr from the Incirlik air base. Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen said earlier that the troops at Incirlik could be moved from Turkey to a base in Jordan. Germany’s cabinet on Wednesday recommended pulling troops from the Incirlik air base in Turkey. The Bundeswehr has about 280 military personnel stationed at Incirlik, from ... Read More »

NATO chief in talks with Germany, Turkey over Incirlik dispute

NATO head Jens Stoltenberg has said he is focused on finding a solution between Germany and Turkey on the issue of visiting rights to the strategic Incirlik air base. Berlin has threatened to withdraw German troops. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has told German daily newspaper Bild that he was in contact with military allies Germany and Turkey in an effort to find a solution on the issue of visiting rights to a strategic Turkish air base where German soldiers are stationed. For the second time in the past year, Turkey has denied German lawmakers access to the Incirlik air base, where roughly 250 German troops are deployed to assist a US-led coalition against the so-called "Islamic State" (IS) militant group. Berlin has threatened to relocate its soldiers if Turkey does not provide access to the parliamentarians, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel saying authorities are assessing alternatives to host the Bundeswehr deployment. Troop withdrawal? Authorities have considered Jordan, Cyprus and Kuwait as suitable alternatives to deploy the German troops. Jordan and Kuwait are NATO partners and form part of the anti-IS coalition. German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen said last week that she spoke with Jordanian authorities, adding that they appear willing to host the deployment. However, Stoltenberg declined to comment on the possibility of the withdrawal, telling Bild there is no use in answering hypothetical questions. Turkey denied access to the base in response to Germany's decision to grant asylum to Turkish military personnel. Ankara has accused the Turkish soldiers, which reportedly included two generals, of supporting the failed coup that attempted to oust President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in July 2016. German lawmakers have threatened to actively pursue the withdrawal if Merkel is unable to persuade Turkey during a NATO summit slated for later this week.

NATO head Jens Stoltenberg has said he is focused on finding a solution between Germany and Turkey on the issue of visiting rights to the strategic Incirlik air base. Berlin has threatened to withdraw German troops. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has told German daily newspaper Bild that he was in contact with military allies Germany and Turkey in an ... Read More »

Saudi Arabia confirms warplane deployment to Turkey

Saudi Arabia has sent warplanes to Turkey to help fight against "IS" militants in Syria, a senior defense official says. Turkey has meanwhile bombed Kurdish and regime positions in Syria for a second day, activists say. Saudi Arabia has confirmed that it has sent aircraft to Turkey's Incirlik air base in a bid to step up operations against the jihadist "Islamic State" group in Syria, a senior Saudi defense official said late on Saturday. "The Saudi kingdom now has a presence at Incirlik air base in Turkey. Saudi warplanes are present with their crews to intensify aerial operations along with missions launched from bases in Saudi Arabia," Brigadier General Ahmed al-Assiri told pan-Arab Al Arabiya television. Assiri, who is an adviser in the office of Saudi Arabia's minister of defense, said the decision to deploy the warplanes came after a meeting in Brussels of a US-led coalition that is fighting the jihadists in Syria and Iraq, stressing that the move had been made in coordination with the coalition. Ground operations on the cards He said no ground troops had yet been sent, but spoke of plans for a ground operation. "There is a consensus among coalition forces on the need for ground operations and the kingdom is commited to that," he said, adding that military experts would be meeting soon to finalize details. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Saturday that the two countries could take part in ground operations against IS in Syria. Syria's foreign minister warned last week, however, that any such action would "amount to aggression that must be resisted." Both Riyadh and Ankara oppose Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who is fighting to put down an insurgency waged by a mixture of rebels ranging from forces regarded by the West as "moderate" to radical Islamist groups such as "IS" and the al-Nusra Front. In recent months, he has been aided by Russian airstrikes that Moscow says are aimed at extremist rebels. Complex conflicts Saudi Arabia has recently resumed its participation in coalition airstrikes against "IS," despite having been accused in the past by Iran of directly supporting the group. Authorities in Riyadh fear that "IS" could serve as a model for Saudi jihadists who would like to oust the monarchy. Turkey in its turn has faced accusations of using the fight against "IS" as a cover for its operations against the Kurdish Workers' Party. The Britain-based monitoring group the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that Turkey carried out a second day of aerial attacks on both Kurdish and regime positions in northern Syria on Sunday, in a move that is likely to further complicate efforts to end the war. Moren than 260,000 people have been killed and millions displaced in the conflict since it erupted in 2011.

Saudi Arabia has sent warplanes to Turkey to help fight against “IS” militants in Syria, a senior defense official says. Turkey has meanwhile bombed Kurdish and regime positions in Syria for a second day, activists say. Saudi Arabia has confirmed that it has sent aircraft to Turkey’s Incirlik air base in a bid to step up operations against the jihadist ... Read More »

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