Turkish government to allow German MPs to visit İncirlik in October
The Turkish government will permit German lawmakers visit to the İncirlik Air Base in the southern province of Adana in October following a request from Berlin, Deputy Prime Minister Nurettin Canikli said Sept. 19.
“We had not allowed their visit to the İncirlik base due to decisions taken by the German parliament regarding the 1915 incidents. We implemented such policies due to such absurd, meaningless and delusive decisions. However, [Chancellor Angela] Merkel announced later that this was not a judicial but a political decision. This is an announcement that meets our expectations. Therefore, from now on, we will allow German parliamentarians to visit in line with their demands. They had requests on the issue. Permission has been given to them to enable their visit in October. It is at their own discretion whether to visit or not,” Canikli told reporters after a cabinet meeting in Ankara.
Relations between Ankara and Berlin became strained after the Bundestag passed a bill that labeled the World War I-era killing of Anatolian Armenians as “genocide.”
Strained relations between Ankara and Berlin due to the Armenian bill worsened after Turkey rejected a German parliamentary delegation’s visit in late June to İncirlik Air Base, which hosts 250 German troops, six surveillance jets and a refueling tanker.
Berlin had threatened the removal of its military presence at the base to another regional country in response. The German troops and jets at İncirlik contribute to the U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Iraq and Syria.
The German troops and jets at İncirlik contribute to the U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Iraq and Syria, along with jets from five other countries; the U.S., France, Britain, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has previously confirmed that the Turkish government had given permission to the German parliamentarians to visit the base after German authorities met Ankara’s expectations regarding the bill.
Çavuşoğlu’s remarks had come after German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said Sept. 2 that Germany’s parliamentary vote was “not legally binding.”
“The German parliament naturally has the right and the freedom to pass any resolution it likes, but the Bundestag itself has said that not every resolution is legally binding,” Steinmeier said on Sept. 2.