Germany Is Looking For Alternatives To Turkish Airbase – Merkel

German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen (Photo: Reuters)

German chancellor has said her country is looking for alternatives to a Turkish airfield that is crucial for a U.S.-led coalition in the fight against the Islamic State, raising the specter of reducing military partnership with NATO’s only Muslim member.

“We will continue to talk with Turkey, but in parallel, we will have to explore other ways of fulfilling our mandate,” Angela Merkel said on Monday. Her remarks came after Turkey refused to allow German MPs to visit 250 German troops stationed in Incirlik airbase.

Mrs. Merkel said Turkey’s behavior means “looking at alternatives to Incirlik, and one alternative among others is Jordan.”

Turkey is furious that Berlin granted asylum to hundreds of military officers and diplomats recalled to Turkey following the failed military coup attempt last summer.

Mrs. Merkel said Turkey’s block of the MPs’ visit is “unfortunate,” and that Germany made this clear “through various channels.”

Germany has Tornado reconnaissance jets and a refueling plane in Incirlik.

German Defence Ministry spokesman Jens Flosdorff said the country is considering to move the jets and the fuel plane to another country.