Germany, Turkey to finalize deal on Incirlik base work in weeks-spokesman

BERLIN, June 13 (Reuters) - Turkey and Germany are expected to finalise within weeks an agreement on construction of new housing and aircraft facilities for German forces at Turkey’s Incirlik air base, a spokesman for the German defence ministry said on Monday.

The two sides are hammering out details after reaching consensus on key tenets of a technical agreement about the infrastructure project, which includes a dormitory for up to 400 troops, a headquarters building and an air operations centre, said the spokesman.

The project will also include facilities for storage and maintenance of the six German Tornado reconnaissance jets and an Airbus 310 MRTT refueling plane that are using the base to support a campaign of air strikes against Islamic State targets, he added.

The agreement underscores the continued German-Turkish military relations despite growing political tensions after Germany’s parliament angered Ankara by declaring the 1915 massacre of Armenians a genocide.

Germany currently has around 280 troops at the Turkish base, which is also hosting U.S., Saudi and Qatari forces.

Berlin joined the U.S.-led air strike campaign against Islamic State in Syria last year, though limiting its role to reconnaissance and refueling missions, after the jihadist group killed 130 people in shooting and bombing attacks in Paris.

The German contingent is using existing U.S. and Turkish facilities to house its soldiers and take care of aircraft, and has set up two special tents for maintenance of its planes.

No details were immediately available about the cost of the project. (Reporting by Andrea Shalal and Tulay Karadeniz; Editing by Dominic Evans)