BERLIN, Germany (A.W.)— German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel has said that Germany may pull its troops from the Incirlik base in Turkey if the German political delegation continues to be banned from visiting.
The latest dispute comes as two Turkish generals reportedly applied for asylum in Frankfurt, reported German based Deutsche Welle.
In an interview on May 17, the German Foreign Minister criticized Turkey’s decision to block the parliamentary delegation from visiting Bundeswehr (The unified armed forces of Germany) soldiers stationed at Turkey’s Incirlik base.
“[If] the German parliament is to be blackmailed, then the limit of tolerance has been reached,” Gabriel told German newspaper Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung. He added that he hopes that Turkey will change its mind in the coming days or else Germany will not leave the soldiers in Turkey.
Gabriel noted that if cooperation regarding the situation is no longer possible, then Germany would consider other options including Kuwait, Cyprus, and Jordan.
According to Deutsche Welle, the latest move by Turkey was allegedly in response to the German government’s decision last week to grant asylum to Turkish military personnel.
The German newspaper Bild reported on May 16 that two more high-ranking members of Turkey’s military applied for asylum at the international airport in Frankfurt. Bild added that these two men were Turkish generals who were involved in last July’s failed military coup.
Relations between Turkey and Germany have grown increasingly tense over the last few months and worsened during Turkey’s referendum campaign on expanding Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s powers. Turkish ministers who were campaigning for the support of expanding powers for Erdogan were prohibited from holding rallies in Germany.
Last year, Ankara blocked German Parliamentarians from visiting the Incirlik airbase after the Bundestag passed a resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide of 1915.
The 250 Bundeswehr troops have been stationed at the Incirlik base as a part of a U.S. led coalition to fight ISIS.