German lawmakers visit North Atlantic Treaty Organisation military base in Turkey
Sep 11 2017
As a reconciliatory move after the refusal, Ankara permitted German officials to visit the Konya base, saying their troops were under the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation mission. The visit had initially been scheduled for July.
Seven members of the German parliament will visit North Atlantic Treaty Organisation military airbase in the Turkish province of Konya, the Turkish media reported September 8.
Some 20-30 German troops have remained at Konya under an Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACs) mission, part of the US-led coalition's campaign against Daesh in neighbouring Syria and Iraq.
Ankara had blocked a planned visit in July as relations between the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies deteriorated.
Friday's visit came under North Atlantic Treaty Organisation facilitation after Turkey had earlier barred a German delegation from the base amid tensions between Berlin and Ankara.
"The visit was a step in the right direction", he added.
Seven German parliamentarians visited in the company of NATO's Deputy Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller.
"A visit is a visit. We will see how things continue", he said, adding that these types of visits organised within the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation framework could not constitute "a lasting and sustainable political solution".
The countries are at odds over Turkey's detention of at least 10 Germans on what Berlin considers political grounds, among them two journalists.
The move is the latest in worsening tensions between Germany and Turkey, highlighted during a referendum campaign this year in Turkey to expand the powers of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan - which German officials often blocked from being conducted in that country.
"Is Erdogan warning about traveling to Germany so that the people there don't see how freedom, justice and open-mindedness make a country strong?"
Mr Shulz has said he would seek to end Turkey's membership talks with the EU.
Ankara in response has repeatedly accused Berlin of supporting "terrorists", referring to PKK and FETO members.
But a number of European Union ministers urged a more measured response than Merkel suggested, warning against rushing into hasty action against Turkey, which is an important member of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and a key partner for Europe in tackling the migrant crisis.
But Turkey to date has not received such support against the terrorist PKK, or the FETO terrorist group - responsible for last year's defeated coup, which martyred 250 people - even as it cooperated with the European Union on the migration crisis, Celik said.