German mission in İncirlik extended
The German armed forces will remain stationed at the Turkish Nato base of İncirlik as part of the anti-IS coalition's operations, the Bundestag decided on Thursday. At the same time the parliament criticised Turkish President Erdoğan's repression of the opposition. Shouldn't Germany withdraw its troops from İncirlik in protest?
Withdrawal would send clear message to Erdoğan
Germany should openly question the continuation of its mission in İncirlik as a way of signalling its critical stance vis-à-vis President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, writes the Stuttgarter Zeitung:
“President Erdoğan is acting with increasing ruthlessness towards both his opponents in his own country and his critics abroad. So transferring the German Tornados to an alternative location should be left open as an option. Yet astonishingly, there was a struggle over a supplementary declaration for a mandate to this effect put forward by the SPD before it was approved. Out of fear that Ankara will cancel the EU refugee pact the German government is hesitant about sending clear signals. Its criticism of Erdoğan's dictatorial behaviour is as timid as its support for opponents of the government in Turkey. … But if they don't set any limits to what will be tolerated, there will be no stopping Erdoğan.”
Extending mandate more important than ever
Under no circumstances should the German military mission withdraw from İncirlik now, Deutschlandfunk warns:
“It's important to remember that this is an international mission, not a mission that was launched to help Turkey. ... Therefore Germany's continued collaboration should not be contingent on the reprehensible situation in Turkey. Turkey must not be put in a position in which it can use domestic measures to influence Germany's ability to take part in such coalitions. Making the German air force's mandate dependent on certain conditions prevailing in Turkey would therefore be a huge mistake. In the current situation it would be particularly detrimental because it would come at a time when a foreign policy novice in Washington is gathering his first experiences with such alliances. … So extending the mandate is crucial right now, also because the operations against the IS are having some success.”