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Germany set to quit Turkey’s Incirlik airbase amid row

Germany set to quit Turkey's Incirlik airbase amid row

German Tornado plane Germany set to quit Turkey's Incirlik airbase amid row

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EPA

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German Tornados have long used Incirlik in support of Nato allies attacking IS targets

Germany says it plans to move its aircraft and military personnel out of Turkey's Incirlik airbase, as Turkey refuses to allow visits by German MPs.

Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen said they would relocate to Jordan's Azraq airbase.

German Tornado jets fly reconnaissance missions over Iraq and Syria from Incirlik, helping US-led forces fighting so-called Islamic State (IS).

German-Turkish talks broke down in Ankara on Monday.

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said 250 German troops and military equipment would have to transfer from Incirlik, in southern Turkey.

The reason, he explained, was that his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu had told him visits to the base by German MPs could not take place.

According to Ms von der Leyen, Jordan has agreed to host the German contingent at Azraq. She said there would be a suspension of the German surveillance flights for a few weeks.

Germany also flies a tanker plane from Incirlik to refuel warplanes participating in the air campaign against IS.

The German government is expected to formally approve the transfer later this month.

Verbal attacks

Last month, Turkey prevented a group of German MPs from visiting Incirlik, citing as a reason Germany's decision to grant asylum to Turkish soldiers it accuses of taking part in last year's attempted coup.

More than 400 Turkish military staff, diplomats, members of the judiciary and other officials and their relatives have applied for political asylum in Germany. Some requests have been granted, though Germany has not given a precise figure.

A bitter war of words erupted between the two Nato allies in the run-up to Turkey's 16 April referendum, which resulted in President Recep Tayyip Erdogan winning sweeping new powers.

He was furious that Germany prevented Turkish ministers from campaigning for him on German soil, and he accused Berlin of "Nazi-style" behaviour.

Meanwhile, Germany remains concerned over Turkey's detention of German-Turkish Die Welt journalist Deniz Yucel.

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