Turkey has confirmed German
lawmakers will visit German
troops based in a military base in the Central Anatolian province of Konya as part of a NATO
trip, after efforts by the alliance’s secretary-general to resolve the row between the two allies.
“The visit is being planned to take place on Sept. 8 as part of a NATO
mission with the participation of a senior NATO
official. Talks on the details of the visit and steps to be taken afterwards are continuing at NATO,” the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a written statement on Aug. 10.
Relations between the two countries have been severely strained due to a number of reasons since last year. Germany had to withdraw its Tornado aircrafts and troops from the İncirlik base in the southern province of Adana after Ankara
refused a visit by German
lawmakers there due to political issues.
In a reconciliatory move, Turkey said a visit to the Konya base would be possible as German
troops deployed there are operating under a NATO
mission. However, this was also blocked by Turkey in protest against Berlin’s ban on a visit by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
to meet the Turkish community living in Germany when he attended a G20 summit.
The row over Konya was averted after NATO
Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg intervened and suggested that a NATO
visit including German
lawmakers to the base should be held, with the Turkish Foreign Ministry stressing on the constructive and facilitating role of Stoltenberg.
“Turkey continues its substantial contribution to the successful execution of all NATO
operations and missions. Our approach on the visit of German
lawmakers within a NATO
delegation to the German
troops as part of the AWACS Mission has been determined within this background,” it said.
However, details over the visit and the names of the German
lawmakers who will take part in the mission are being discussed at the NATO
headquarters. Turkey clarified to Germany that lawmakers who attended meetings and activities held by sympathizers of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party
(PKK) will not be allowed to visit the Turkish base.
More than a dozen German
troops stationed at the Konya base are operating NATO’s early warning aircrafts in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
army is under the strict control of the German
parliament and visits to German
troops deployed abroad are part of the parliament’s duties and responsibilities.