Germany will have to pull its forces out of the Incirlik air force base in southern Turkey because of restrictions on German MPs seeking to visit troops there, Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel says, the Associated Press reports.
Gabriel was speaking after a meeting in Ankara on Monday with his Turkish counterpart, Mevlut Cavusoglu, which aimed to address the stand-off over Incirlik and other diplomatic tensions between the two NATO allies.
“My Turkish colleague explained to me that in the current situation, Turkey is not able to allow every visit by German parliamentarians to Incirlik – for domestic reasons,” he told a news conference.
“I regret that. Conversely, I ask for understanding that we – for domestic political reasons – must transfer soldiers out of Incirlik, because the German parliament has a parliamentary army and places value on German lawmakers being able to visit Bundeswehr soldiers at any time.”
Shortly after he spoke, sources in Prime Minister Binali Yildirim’s office said the Turkish premier had cancelled a planned meeting with Gabriel, citing a busy work schedule.
Ties between Turkey and Germany deteriorated sharply in the run-up to Turkey’s April 16 referendum that handed President Tayyip Erdogan stronger presidential powers.