German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Monday that Germany may move its soldiers to another country if Ankara does not grant permission to members of the German parliament’s defense committee to visit staff currently serving in a NATO mission at İncirlik Airbase in southern Turkey.
Speaking at a news conference, Merkel said it was essential for lawmakers to be able to visit the more than 250 soldiers serving at Turkey’s İncirlik Airbase, where they are involved in a NATO mission targeting the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Syria.
“We will continue to talk with Turkey, but in parallel we will have to explore other ways of fulfilling our mandate,” Merkel said.
“That means looking at alternatives to İncirlik, and one alternative among others is Jordan.”
Merkel’s remarks came shortly after Turkey blocked a group of German lawmakers on Monday from visiting German troops at İncirlik Airbase as it was not deemed appropriate at this time.
Wolfgang Hellmich, chairman of the Bundestag Defense Committee, told German news agency dpa “We’re not going to be blackmailed” by the Ankara government.