Erdogan told German troops to leave Turkey

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan says it would not be “a major issue” for Turkey if Germany decided to pull out its troops from the Anatolian country.

Erdogan made the remarks on Wednesday before flying to a NATO summit with European Union leaders in Brussels.

“We have not been officially notified by Germany that it is going to leave to Jordan from the Incirlik base… But if they do so, then for us it’s not a problem. If they leave, we’ll tell them happy journey,” he added.

On Saturday, German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen announced that an airbase in Jordan shows potential as a replacement for Turkey’s Incirlik base.

Last week, she announced that her country was seeking a new location to deploy its troops, who are part of the US-led coalition allegedly fighting Daesh in Iraq and Syria.

Germany has about 250 military personnel stationed in Turkey, flying Tornado surveillance missions over Syria and refueling flights for partner nations.

Earlier in the month, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that German troops were welcome to leave Incirlik if they wanted to. “If they want to leave, let’s just say goodbye.”

Relations between Turkey and Germany began to deteriorate after a failed coup in Turkey last year.

Germany has repeatedly criticized Ankara’s ensuing crackdown, saying the Turkish government has acted beyond the rule of law.

Turkey defends the crackdown and insists that European governments have failed to properly condemn the coup.


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