Germany backs troop withdrawal from Turkey, escalating tensions

June 7 (UPI) — The German government on Wednesday approved the removal of troops from Turkey’s Incirlik Air Base, escalating tensions between the two countries.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel‘s Cabinet approved the move, which was initially proposed by the Defense Ministry. Germany will now work out the details on moving troops, surveillance planes and a refueling jet to Jordan; it is expected to take two to three months.

The withdrawal comes in reaction to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan‘s refusal to guarantee visits by German lawmakers to troops at the base.

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel visited Ankara on Monday in attempt to settle disagreements between the NATO allies. Turkish state-run media outlet Anadolu Agency reported Ankara disagrees with German lawmakers showing support for the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, a left-wing group that Turkey, the European Union and the United States have designated as a terrorist organization.

Meanwhile, Berlin has been upset with Erdogan for a crackdown on tens of thousands of people after an attempted coup in July.

Germany houses six Tornado surveillance jets, a tanker aircraft and 260 troops participating in the fight against the Islamic State at Incirlik air base.

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