Not possible to allow German MPs to visit İncirlik without 'positive steps' from Berlin: Turkish FM
ISTANBULTurkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on May 30 that it was not possible to allow German lawmakers to visit troops currently stationed at Turkey's İncirlik air base, although Ankara may reconsider if it sees "positive steps" from Berlin.
Speaking at a news conference with his Gabonese counterpart Pacome Moubelet Boubeya on May 30, Çavuşoğlu said the visit remains "out of the question".
"We see that Germany supports everything that is against Turkey," Çavuşoğlu said at a news conference in Ankara.
"Under these circumstances it is not possible for us to open İncirlik to German lawmakers right now. If they take positive steps in the future we can reconsider," he added.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel on May 25 said that Germany would withdraw soldiers from the airbase if their MPs were not allowed the visit.
Meanwhile, Germany’s Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel will fly to Turkey on June 5 to discuss a dispute over access to the İncirlik military air base in the southern province of Adana, Cavuşoğlu said.
“We will discuss the issue over İncirlik,” Çavuşoglu said at a televised press conference ahead of the meeting.
Ankara had prevented German lawmakers from visiting the roughly 250 troops stationed at the base as part of the U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), saying that Berlin needs to improve its attitude first.
Berlin warned it could move its 250 military personnel stationed at the İncirlik base, from which it uses to fly Tornado surveillance missions over Syria and refuel flights for partner nations battling ISIL militants, to another location in the region such as Jordan.
Earlier, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Ankara would certainly allow the German lawmakers’ visit to the base on condition that the list of visitors sent by the German foreign minister is seen suitable, as it was in the past. However, he also noted that there were lawmakers who “openly supported terrorists.”
“Sometimes there may be those who openly support terrorists among German lawmakers. We expressed that some who openly support terrorists and almost act together with them will not be welcomed. Right now, our foreign ministers will discuss the issue with each other and we will take a step accordingly,” Erdoğan said on May 26 while returning to Turkey after meeting with top EU officials and leaders in Brussels.