Germany Starts to Withdraw Troops from Turkish Incirlik Base
(Source: Deutsche Welle German Radio; issued July 07, 2017)
Germany has started to withdraw troops from a Turkish air base where they have been supporting international operations against so-called "Islamic State." This follows a row with Ankara over access to the base.

The motion to pull the troops out of Incirlik had been approved by the German parliament in June, after parliamentarians had repeatedly been refused access to the roughly 260 soldiers stationed at the facility. Turkey had denied German lawmakers requests to make what they saw as routine visits to the base.

A German defense ministry spokesman said on Sunday that the withdrawal from the Incirlik base in southern Turkey's Adana province was the next step in one of several bilateral disputes between Germany and Turkey. These range from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's post-coup clampdown on dissidents to Turkey's political campaigning in Germany in the run-up to a key referendum held in April giving Erdogan sweeping new powers.

A vote in Germany's lower house of parliament, the Bundestag, on referring to the 1916 Turkish massacre of Armenians as genocide also influenced the diplomatic stand-off directly.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Saturday that a bilateral meeting with Turkish President Erdogan had revealed "deep differences" between the two NATO allies.

A Turkish official meanwhile confirmed that the withdrawal had started, saying that Germany's defense minister Ursula von der Leyen had informed her Turkish counterpart of the withdrawal date when they met during the recent NATO summit in Brussels.

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