Airbus A 310 MRTT of the German Airforce. ©Bundeswehr/Oliver Pieper

German Officials Prevented Entering NATO Base in Turkey

Berlin, Germany – After recalling its ambassador to Germany, Turkey decided to take further steps against Berlin, by not allowing senior German defense officials to enter the Incirlik Airbase near Adana in Turkey. The move comes after the German Parliament approved a bill which recognizes the mass killings of Armenians by Ottomans in 1915 as genocide.

Germany has 250 soldiers, six Tornado jets and a tanker aircraft stationed at the NATO base, supporting the international coalition in its efforts against the so-called Islamic State (ISIS).

Jens Flosdorff, the spokesperson of the German Defense Ministry, confirmed a report by Spiegel Online and said: “Turkish officials do currently not approve the travel plans.”

A German Tornado jet fighter equipped with a pod containing high resolution cameras ( RECCE-LITE ) for reconaissance flights.

Flosdorff said permission for the trip was refused without explanation, refusing to comment on German media reports stating it was in retaliation for the Parliament's resolution on Armenia. However, the step comes shortly after the German Parliament’s decision to recognize the killings as genocide.

According to historians, up to 1.5 million Armenians were killed by Ottoman Turks around the time of World War I, an event viewed by many scholars as one of the first genocides of the 20th century.

Franz Josef Jung, former German minister of defense, and now co-head of the parliamentary faction of Angela Merkel’s party, says: “This is unacceptable. Our soldiers are there with the NATO, and the alliance has a shared responsibility. We have to take appropriate measures. I assume Turkey wants to stay a member of the NATO.”

Tensions between Western powers, such as Germany and the United States, and Turkey increased in recent months, due to worrying reports about Turkey’s alleged involvement in supporting ISIS. Turkey on its part accuses the United States and the international coalition of supporting, what it calls “Kurdish Terrorists.”

German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen (C) with German and Kurdish army officials at a military base in Germany.

Both, Berlin and Washington, supply Kurdish troops with weapons and ammunition and train Kurdistan’s Peshmerga forces to fight the terrorists of ISIS. Since 2014 the Kurds in Iraq and their compatriots in Syria have liberated hundreds of villages and dozens of cities from the radical fundamentalists.

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