Germany, Turkey working to resolve Incirlik air base crisis

A German air force Tornado jet lands at an airbase in Incirlik, Turkey, December 10, 2015. The first the German air force Tornado reconnaissance jets will take off for Turkey's Incirlik air base on Thursday, to support the military campaign against Islamic State. REUTERS/Umit Bektas - RTX1Y3FP

Berlin and Ankara are working on resolving the crisis around the Incirlik base following the Turkish ban on the visit of German lawmakers to the base, German Ambassador to Turkey Martin Erdmann said Tuesday.

“We are continuing our work to resolve this saddening problem. I have visited Incirlik twice in the past but not this time,” Erdmann told reporters, as quoted by Hurriyet newspaper.

On 15 May, the German Foreign Ministry said a visit by German lawmakers to the country’s troops stationed at Incirlik was stalled by the Turkish side a day before it was due to take place.

In 2016, Berlin prolonged until the end of 2017 the deployment of six Tornado jets and hundreds of German personnel at the airbase despite strained relations between the two countries. German-Turkish relations deteriorated after the German parliament’s decision in June to label the 1915 massacre of Armenians by the Ottoman Empire as a genocide. Following this decision, Ankara restricted a delegation of German lawmakers from accessing the air base in June 2016. Nonetheless, in October, Turkey allowed the delegation to visit the base.

In November 2016, German media reported that military officials traveled to Jordan’s capital Amman to investigate a possible relocation of Tornado spy jets from southern Turkey.

The Turkish Incirlik air base stations hundreds of German personnel and several Tornado jets to carry out airstrikes against the the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria alongside the United States and several other NATO member states.