A much-anticipated visit from German
lawmakers to German
troops based in the Konya Air Base in Turkey has taken place under the NATO
flag on Sept. 8, Turkish officials said, after a months-long row between Ankara
and Berlin over the modalities of the visit.
Because of ongoing bilateral tension between the two NATO
allies, Turkey had previously denied Germany’s attempt to visit troops deployed in the İncirlik Air Base near Adana, which had pushed Berlin to withdraw its soldiers and Tornado aircraft.
As a result of NATO’s engagement, seven members of the Bundestag Defense Committee could execute the visit as part of a NATO
delegation led by Deputy Secretary-General Rose Gottemoeller.
plane carrying seven lawmakers, Gottemoeller and other NATO
officials took off from Brussels and landed in Konya on early Sept. 8 and left the military base after members of the defense committee of the German
Parliament met with around two-dozen German
troops that operate early warning aircraft under a NATO
mission. AWACS are being used in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
The meeting between Turkish and NATO
officials lasted around two hours. No press were allowed to cover the German
lawmakers’ visit to the Turkish base in Konya.
Ties between Turkey and Germany are passing through a dire strait since mid-2016 after the latter’s parliament recognized the mass killings of Armenians in 1915 at the hands of the Ottomans as genocide.
Their relations were strained further after Germany granted asylum to fleeing members of the Fethullahist Terror Organization (FETÖ) blamed for the July 15, 2016 coup attempt.
Turkey refused to allow German
lawmakers to visit the İncirlik Base in late 2016 because of the tension that led the German
government to move its troops and Tornado aircraft based there to Jordan. Turkey said German
lawmakers could visit the Konya Base as their troops were under the NATO
mission but it underlined that it would not allow German
MPs that have participated in Kurdistan Workers’ Party