Amid a row with Turkey over its presidential powers referendum, some German MPs are calling for the withdrawal of troops deployed at Incirlik airbase. Germany is flying reconnaissance sorties from the Turkish base as part of the US-led anti-ISIL coalition.
Concerns over the presence of German airmen at the base, which is located in southern Turkey close to Syria, came from lawmakers of both the ruling coalition and the opposition. Florian Hahn, spokesman for security and foreign policy of the Christian Social Union (CSU), said the Germans soldiers and officers may become pawns in Turkish power games.
“Amid this heated atmosphere, it has become increasingly uncertain that the Turkish government can and will guarantee the protection of our soldiers in Incirlik,” he told Germany’s Bild am Sonntag newspaper. He called on the government to stop investing in the infrastructure of the airbase and transfer the Tornados stationed there elsewhere.
The CSU is the Bavaria-based sister party of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats, while similar concerns came from the Left Party, the main opposition force in Germany.
“In light of the current developments in Turkey, it is overdue that we withdraw our Tornado [jets] and Bundeswehr soldiers, as well as halting the supply of weapons to Turkey immediately,” argued Left leader Sahra Wagenknecht, as cited by Deutsche Welle.
The Green Party’s Cem Ozdemir, an ethnic Turk and long-time critic of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said withdrawing troops from Turkey would send a clear message to Ankara, which is, according to him, “in the process of losing the last remnants of respect towards Europe.”