German visit to Konya rather than Incirlik possible, Çavuşoğlu says

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
Published 05.06.2017 13:06
Updated 05.06.2017 14:07
Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and his German counterpart Sigmar Gabriel attend a news conference in Ankara, Turkey, June 5, 2017 (Reuters Photo)
Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and his German counterpart Sigmar Gabriel attend a news conference in Ankara, Turkey, June 5, 2017 (Reuters Photo)

Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said Monday that the German delegation can visit Konya NATO base rather than Incirlik, as he highlighted Turkey's concern about Germany's stance regarding terrorist groups including the PKK and the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) .

Speaking at a joint news conference with his German counterpart Sigmar Gabriel in Ankara, Çavuşoğlu reiterated that Turkey will maintain the ban on the visit of German lawmakers to Incirlik.

The foreign minister said that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and German Chancellor Angela Merkel discussed the matter during a NATO meeting in Brussels on May 24-25.

However, he noted that Turkey may authorize the German delegation's visit to Incirlik if conditions between the two countries normalize.

In response, the German foreign minister noted that Turkish-German relations are going through a "difficult phase," but there is no clear decision on moving German troops from Incirlik airbase.

Çavuşoğlu highlighted that the two ministers discussed steps necessary to be taken to improve bilateral relations.

He noted that he told his German counterpart about a number of issues Turkey is concerned about, including rising anti-Turkey sentiment in Germany and activities of terrorist groups.

Tension between Turkey and Germany rose last week after a German parliamentary delegation was not allowed to visit the Incirlik Air Base, where German troops are stationed.

The move was in response to Germany's attitude towards Turkish deputies during the recent constitutional referendum period where Turkish officials were barred from holding meetings in Germany, drawing a strong reaction from the Turkish government.

In addition, Germany's uncooperative stance with regard to the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) has also been a source of tension as the country has been a safe haven for hundreds of FETÖ members, including high-ranking NATO military officers.

The two countries went through the same crisis almost a year ago. A German parliamentary defense commission delegation was not allowed to pay a visit to the Incirlik Air Base after the German parliament adopted a controversial resolution regarding the events of 1915.

Since 2015, Germany has stationed around 260 troops, six high-tech Tornado surveillance jets and a tanker aircraft at Incirlik Air Base.

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