Germany to decide about troop withdrawal from Turkey by mid-June

A German Tornado jet is pictured in a hangar before a statement of the German and Turkish defence ministers at the air base in Incirlik, Turkey, January 21, 2016. REUTERS/Tobias Schwarz/Pool

Germany, whose relations with Turkey have been strained by a series of rows, will decide within two weeks whether to withdraw troops deployed at Turkey‘s Incirlik air force base, a German Foreign Ministry official said on Sunday.

Roughly 250 German troops are based at Incirlik to help in the fight against Islamic State militants.

Germany said last week it was considering moving its soldiers from Incirlik to Jordan or another country in the region because the Turkish government refuses to grant German lawmakers access to the site.

Ties between NATO allies Germany and Turkey have deteriorated sharply after a succession of diplomatic rows.

Most recently, Turkey has expressed anger that Germany is granting asylum to Turks accused of participating in a failed coup in July. The failed putsch prompted a purge of the Turkish military, judiciary and civil service.

“We’re still holding talks with the Turkish side about Incirlik and we will work on a solution until mid-June,” said the German Foreign Ministry official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Turkish officials have told Reuters a visit by German lawmakers to the German soldiers at Incirlik would not be appropriate at the moment.