There is tension among the NATO allies: Germany has withdrawn its troops from the Incirlik base in Turkey. Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen has given notice to Fikri Isik, her Turkish counterpart.
The Berlin decision comes after a delegation of German members of parliament were denied permission to visit their soldiers on May 16.
Incirlik is the base in Southeast Anatolia where 280 German troops were stationed. From there, the Tornado aircrafts depart in surveillance and refueling missions to conduct operations in support of the fight against the Islamic State. Germany has already identified the base in Azraq, Jordan, as the alternative to Incirlik.
One of the underlying reasons for the decision is the clash on the resolution on the Armenian genocide, passed by the German Parliament last year.
Another reason that weighs especially today is Germany’s refusal to cooperate with the purges that Erdogan is carrying out in Ankara against the network of his former ally Gülen, accused of being the author of the attempted coup in July 2016.
Turkey’s demands to restore Germany’s access to Incirlik was the disavowal of the German government of the resolution on the Armenian issue, the commitment of the German authorities against the PKK and the Kurdish autonomy movement and the extradition of those who Ankara believes are linked to the coup, to whom Berlin has granted asylum.
But Chancellor Merkel, who cashed in her parliamentary support, decided that enough was enough and gave the green light to the transfer of the troops: “We will go to Jordan.”
Yet another tear between the two NATO allies, whose ties are as deep as their recent disagreements. Turkey has suffered in recent years a dramatic decline in its reputation among NATO members.
Paradoxically, the alliance’s involvement in the Syrian scenario, so far so desired by Ankara, is taking place at times and in ways that will further frustrate Erdogan’s government and, especially, it is not to the detriment of the alliance between the United States and the YPG’s Kurds.