Germany’s foreign minister on May 16 said parliament would likely vote on withdrawing troops involved in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Syria from a Turkish military base if Ankara persisted in denying German lawmakers access to the site.
Turkish officials have told Reuters a visit by German lawmakers to some 250 German troops stationed at İncirlik air base to provide logistical support to the U.S.-led coalition would not be appropriate at the moment.
The deepening row has further soured relations that became increasingly strained ahead of the April 16 referendum on constitutional amendments shifting the country’s governance to an executive presidency.
"I can only hope that the Turkish government changes its mind in the coming days. Otherwise, the German parliament will certainly not leave the soldiers in Turkey,” Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel told the Neue Osnabruecker Zeitung.
Gabriel’s comments struck a tough tone after Chancellor Angela Merkel on May 16 said Berlin might move the troops elsewhere.
Spiegel Online has reported that Germany was exploring the possibility of redeploying the soldiers to Jordan. The Berliner Zeitung reported that the opposition Greens and Left parties were calling for a vote on pulling the soldiers out.
Relations between the two countries have deteriorated sharply after a series of diplomatic rows.
Turkey was angered by Germany’s cancellation of political rallies in support of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan ahead of the referendum and is furious that Germany is granting asylum to Turks accused of participating in the July 2016 failed coup attempt.
German officials have said more than 400 Turkish citizens with diplomatic passports and other government work permits had sought asylum in Germany since then.
Mass-selling daily Bild reported that two Turkish generals had sought asylum at Frankfurt airport late on May 16.
It said the two generals would be taken to a migrant center in Giessen, near Frankfurt, after spending the night near the airport. German police and the Office for Migrants and Refugees declined to comment.