Turkey says it 'won't beg' Germany to stay at airbase

Turkey says it 'won't beg' Germany to stay at airbase

Turkey says it 'won't beg' Germany to stay at airbase

The Berlin government is mulling moving its troops out of Turkey's Incirlik air base after a second snub by Ankara.

The asylum decision has already prompted Turkey to block a request for German lawmakers to visit their country's some 270 troops serving with the coalition against the Islamic State group at Incirlik air base.

Some 250 German troops are stationed at Incirlik, contributing to the USA -led mission targeting Islamist State militants in neighbouring Syria. Turkish officials have told Reuters the visit by lawmakers would not be appropriate at the moment.

As a result, the German federal government is considering removing its soldiers from the base, according to information given to members of the Bundestag defence committee by the Defence Ministry.

German government spokesman Stefan Seibert said Berlin would consider alternative places to station the soldiers. Ms Merkel has further warned that she sees as a "red line" any attempt by Ankara to hold a referendum on reintroducing the death penalty, as Mr Erdogan is reportedly considering.

Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said if there is a demand they can discuss the Turkish side's decision on banning the German lawmakers to visit Incirclik air base during the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit, the Turkish Diken news agency reports.

In a separate report, Deutsche Welle (DW), Germany's global broadcaster, quote German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel.

Turkey has not provided a reason for their official refusal.

German military missions overseas need parliamentary approval, typically on an annual basis, and German leaders say it's essential for lawmakers to be granted access to troops serving overseas.

Relations between North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies Germany and Turkey have deteriorated sharply after a series of diplomatic rows. They flared up again before Turkey's presidential republic referendum on April 16, which Erdogan and his party AKP won with a very narrow majority, with the Turkish opposition disputing the results, and worldwide observers finding numerous violations.

Erdogan sought the millions of votes of Turks living in Europe for a constitutional referendum which significantly boosted his power.

Germany and other Western allies have voiced concern about what they fear is a drift towards authoritarian rule in Turkey.

Related news