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Germany To Pull Troops From Turkish Base In Dispute With Ankara


A technician works on a German Tornado jet at the air base in Incirlik in January.

Chancellor Angela Merkel's cabinet has decided to pull German troops and reconnaissance planes out of Turkey's Incirlik air base after Ankara refused to let lawmakers visit them.

The German troops and aircraft taking part in the international coalition against the Islamic State extremist group will redeploy to Jordan.

Germany has some 270 troops stationed at Incirlik, near Turkey's border with Syria, with six Tornado reconnaissance aircraft and a refueling plane.

The Defense Ministry said that the relocation would take the refueling plane out of service for two to three weeks and the reconnaissance planes for two to three months.

Merkel said that Berlin will consult with its allies on "replacement capabilities" during that time and the move "will be conducted as quickly as possible under the provision that the anti-IS coalition is able to work."

German leaders say it's essential that lawmakers be able to visit troops when they want, as deployments of German forces abroad require parliamentary approval.

Turkey blocked the latest Incirlik visit request in protest over a decision by German authorities to grant asylum to soldiers and other individuals that Turkey accuses of participating in last year's failed coup.

Ties have also been tense over the jailing in Turkey of two German journalists and the decision by German local authorities to ban planned campaign rallies by Turkish ministers earlier this year.

Based on reporting by AP and Bloomberg
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