Germany to invest €65mn into own section at Turkish air base for Tornado jets

German Tornado jets are pictured on the ground at the air base in Incirlik, Turkey, January 21, 2016. © Tobias Schwarz
German Air Force is reportedly to have its own section at the Turkish Incirlik Air Base, which is already used by American warplanes to attack targets in Syria. The planned project will cost €65 million and is to be finished by summer 2017, Der Spiegel reports.

The air base is located in southern Turkey east of Adana close to the Mediterranean coast. Ankara allowed the US to use it for its Syrian campaign against Islamic State on the condition that it would not be used to support America’s Kurdish allies, whom the Turks see as a threat. Saudi Arabia has a presence at Incirlik as well.

The base international club welcomed Germany as its new member in December 2015, when the European country started flying reconnaissance missions as part of the US-led coalition. According to a report published Monday by Spiegel Online, the presence may soon become permanent.

The Bundeswehr is investing about €65 million to build accommodation for the permanent deployment of around 400 German soldiers, a fully equipped command and control post and facilities for a full wing of Tornado fighter-jets and an Airbus tanker, the report said.

Most of the project is expected to be completed by summer 2017 although, since access to the facility is limited to only authorized Turkish construction companies, the deadline may shift. Germany is still negotiating with Turkey on an agreement for permanent deployment of troops. NATO member Turkey currently hosts 200 German soldiers and officers on rotational basis.

The German magazine notes that the investment may prove quite long-term. In 2002, Germany signed an agreement with Uzbekistan to use a base near the city of Termez. The base was used to provide logistical support for German and NATO effort in neighboring Afghanistan.

The Termez Air Base was kept in use for 14 years and was only closed in December last year.