Turkey denies German lawmakers’ visit to Konya NATO airbase

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ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – In increasing tensions between the two nations, Turkey has now blocked German lawmakers from visiting their NATO airbase at Konya.

Ankara has denied German lawmakers permission to visit their military troops stationed near the Turkish town of Konya, which was scheduled for Monday, according to a report published Friday by German news outlet Deutsche Welle.

Similar incidents in the past prompted Germany to move their military aircraft and roughly 250 troops from Turkey’s Incirlik Air Base to Jordan.

“The government, especially Chancellor Angela Merkel, must now take the necessary steps to ensure lawmakers can soon visit the soldiers in Konya,” said Social Democrats defense spokesperson, Rainer Arnold.

The visit was scheduled last month so that German lawmakers could assess Germany’s participation in reconnaissance flights over Syria to monitor ISIS movement.

Germany started pulling its troops and military aircrafts from Incirlik Airbase in Turkey’s southern province of Adana on July 9 over disagreements, mainly Ankara’s refusal to allow German MPs into the base.

Deputies from the parliament’s defense committee had asked on multiple occasions to inspect some 260 German airmen at the base, but were refused.

Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that German lawmakers could visit their troops at the NATO base in Konya, but not at the Turkish base in Incirlik, Turkish Hurriyet Daily News reported early last month.

However, the Turkish government seems to have changed their mind since that statement. 

Germany’s Foreign Office tweeted that, as a result of Turkey’s refusal to permit the visit, “we will have to re deploy military staff.”

Ankara became angry earlier this year when Berlin banned Turkish politicians from campaigning in Germany ahead of Turkey’s constitutional referendum, citing security concerns. Turkey responded to the ban by accusing Berlin of “Nazi-like” tactics, adding fuel to the dispute over Incirlik.

Germany, as a member of the US-led international coalition against ISIS in Iraq and Syria and per its agreement with Turkey, used the airbase to station its jets. 

 




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