Turkey refuses German lawmarkers’ permission to visit NATO base in Konya: Report
REUTERS photoTurkey on July 14 refused a visit by German lawmakers at a NATO base in the Central Anatolian province of Konya, a party defense spokesman said, marking a new escalation in tensions between the two NATO allies.
"The government, especially Chancellor Angela Merkel, must now take the necessary steps to ensure lawmakers can soon visit the soldiers in Konya," said Rainer Arnold, defense spokesperson for the Social Democrats, the junior coalition party in the government as reported by Reuters.
Earlier in the day, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg and Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu held a phone conversation upon the former's request, diplomatic sources told.
It was not immediately sure whether NATO chief raised the issue on the grounds that the base in Konya operates as a NATO military facility upon an agreement between the Turkish government and the alliance.
Ankara's earlier refusal to let lawmakers visit German soldiers serving at İncirlik air base led to Berlin relocating those troops to Jordan. For historical reasons, Germany's armed forces are under parliamentary control, and Berlin insists the parliamentarians must have access to its soldiers.