German defense authorities have finally ordered the start of withdrawal of troops from a base in southern Turkey after the two countries failed to settle disputes on how Berlin could access the base.
A German defense ministry spokesman said Sunday that the pull-out had begun earlier in the day, adding that a German air tanker refueller left Incirlik for a new air base in Jordan.
The official said that German tornado jets were scheduled to be deployed in the Jordanian base by October. He said the jets were due to keep operating out of Incirlik at least until the end of July as Germany continues to contribute to an alleged military fight against Daesh in Iraq and Syria, an operation which is led by the United States. German authorities would move the necessary material to Jordan in the meantime, the official added.
The Turkish government confirmed that the withdrawal of German troops had began, with an official saying Germany's defense minister had informed her Turkish counterpart about the day the action could start at a recent summit of NATO alliance in Brussels.
The German parliament approved the pull-out of troops from Turkey last month after Turkey refused to allow Germany lawmakers to visit German military personnel at Incirlik.
Turkey and Germany have been locked in a number of diplomatic disputes, including Turkey’s way of handling the aftermaths of a failed coup in July last year, which has sparked massive criticism in Germany.
Turkey’s refusal to grant access to German lawmakers came after Berlin blocked visits and speeches by senior Turkish officials to members of Turkish diaspora in Germany ahead of an April referendum in Turkey. Turkey is also critical of Germany over the country’s alleged support for suspected coup plotters and outlawed Kurdish militants.