German MP visiting İncirlik air base ‘disappointed to not meet gov’t officials’
AP photoAlexander S. Neu, one of the German parliamentarians who recently visited German troops based at Turkey’s İncirlik air base after Ankara granted permission, has said he was disappointed to not be able to meet Turkish government officials during the trip.
“We were told that we would meet with government officials but a meeting was rejected by Ankara. We were told that the most we could expect was to meet the parliamentary defense committee,” daily Hürriyet quoted Neu, a member of Germany’s Left Party, as saying.
“Unlike my visiting colleagues, I cannot say I’m walking on air. I cannot say we were welcomed very well,” he added.
Speaking at a press conference in İzmir on Oct. 5, after visiting around 250 German troops stationed in İncirlik, Karl Lamers, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative Christian Democrats, told the RND newspaper group that they had an “open, honest” dialogue with Turkish officials and there were no restrictions on their ability to move around the base.
The group of seven German lawmakers first visited the Turkish Parliament in Ankara, which was bombed during the failed coup attempt on July 15, and then met with MP members of the Turkish Parliament’s Defense Committee on Oct. 4. The visit to the İncirlik base, in Turkey’s southern province of Adana, came later.
Ankara had barred the group from visiting İncirlik in southern Turkey after the Bundestag passed a bill describing as genocide the World War I-era killing of Anatolian Armenians by the Ottoman Empire.
Strained relations between Ankara and Berlin due to the Armenian bill worsened after Turkey rejected a German parliamentary delegation’s visit to the base in late June.
In September, the Turkish government finally gave German MPs permission to conduct the visit.