Ministry denies preventing German humanitarian plane from landing in İncirlik airbase
Uğur Eragan / Celal Özcan ANKARA / BERLİN
The German Bundeswehr Transall C-160 plane carrying humanitarian aid stands on tarmac at Incirlik airbase near Adana on Aug 15. REUTERS PhotoThe Foreign Ministry has denied a report claiming Turkey did not allow a German aircraft carrying humanitarian aid to northern Iraq to land at İncirlik airbase.
“Permission for landing and transitions was given to eight different German planes carrying aid to Arbil between Aug. 15-18. There are three more requests from Germany and they are waiting for approval from the aviation authorities,” according to a statement released by the Foreign Ministry on Aug. 20.
The ministry said they notified Deutsche Welle Türkçe, the agency that published the article on their website and that originally obtained the news from the German Press Agency (DPA). The report by the DPA claimed that the aid mission to airlift 20 tons of supplies to northern Iraq was suspended when Turkish authorities denied access for the German plane to land at İncirlik airbase.
However, a spokesman from the German Air Force told daily Hürriyet that the flight was only delayed because an additional document was required by the Turkish authorities, but the plane would eventually be authorized permission to land.
“We give information 24 hours before such flights and we ask permission. Permission is then issued within 24 hours. Turkey asked for an additional document. That’s why the flight was delayed. It has not been canceled, but delayed for a few hours or even a day. But the flight will go ahead,” the German spokesman said, giving no information regarding the context of the document.
The first humanitarian aid flight, which included 36 tons of food and medical supplies, by Germany was delivered last week to northern Iraq, where tens of thousands of refugees from the Yazidi and Christian communities are based after fleeing their homes, which were overrun by militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
When the German spokesman was asked to comment on the recent spying allegations, the official said: “We do not wish to speculate on this matter.”
Relations between Germany and Turkey have been strained since it was revealed last week that the German intelligence agency, Federal Intelligence Agency (BND), had been spying on its NATO ally since 2009.