Germany could move troops now based in Turkey to another country if Ankara persists in denying German lawmakers permission to visit them, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Monday, highlighting renewed strains between the NATO allies.
A spokesman for the German foreign minister said it was "completely unacceptable" for Turkey to keep members of the parliamentary defense committee from visiting their own soldiers.
Some 250 German troops are stationed at Incirlik air force base, contributing to NATO's mission targeting Islamist State militants in neighboring Syria. Turkish foreign ministry sources told Reuters a visit by German parliamentarians would not be appropriate at this time, without elaborating.
Turkey similarly refused access to German parliamentarians late last year, though that visit eventually went ahead.
"We will continue to talk with Turkey, but in parallel we will have to explore other ways of fulfilling our mandate," Merkel told reporters on Monday.
"That means looking at alternatives to Incirlik, and one alternative among others is Jordan," she said.
A German military survey team will visit Jordan in coming days to look at potential bases there, government sources said. Jordan is the preferred site, although facilities in Cyprus and Kuwait are also possible, they said.
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