Germany has refused a request from Turkey to share reconnaissance images gathered by the German military as part of the global anti-Islamic State coalition for fear that Ankara would use the information to target Kurds, the German Defence Ministry said, according to Rudaw.
As a member of the global coalition fighting IS in Iraq and Syria, Germany’s Tornado fighter jets have carried out reconnaissance missions from Turkey’s Incirlik airbase. Though Turkey is a member of the coalition, Germany has not given Turkey uncensored access to the high resolution imagery gathered for fear Ankara would use the information in its military campaign against Kurds, Reuters reported.
The imagery and information gathered is provided “solely to the anti-Islamic State coalition” and the military follows a strict process to ensure the intelligence gathered is not used for other purposes, Reuters quoted a ministry spokesperson as saying.
German diplomats had received threats from persons within the Turkish military, saying that Turkey would not approve improvements on the base until it was given full access to the imagery, Spiegel Online reported.
Relations between Germany and Turkey have been strained after the German parliament voted last June to recognize the Armenian genocide and Germany has been vocal in its criticism of Turkey’s crackdown after the failed coup. Ankara has accused Berlin of turning a blind eye to activities of the banned Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in Germany.
Late last year, the German military considered relocating its Tornado reconnaissance jets out of Turkey’s Incirlik airbase because of the strained relations.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is expected to visit Ankara this week to discuss coordination in fighting terrorism, the refugee crisis, and economic ties, according to state-run Anadolu Agency.
Turkey is conducting a military campaign against the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and frequently carries out airstrikes in the Kurdistan Region where the PKK has bases in the Qandil mountains.