Germany seeks 'further improved ties with Turkey rather than strained relations'

YUNUS PAKSOY @yunuspaksoy
ANKARA
Published

The German government is looking for ways to improve bilateral relations with Turkey rather than further exacerbate tensions despite Turkey's recent decision to bar a Germany parliamentary delegation from visiting an air base in Konya province, high-level German diplomatic sources told Daily Sabah.

The sources said Berlin does not plan to further strain relations with Ankara despite the recent ban on yet another German parliamentary delegation that was due to visit German troops deployed at an air base in Konya. According to the sources, Berlin is looking to enhance bilateral ties with Ankara in the wake of a lengthy period of turbulence and crises.

German sources spoke to Daily Sabah on the condition of anonymity, stressing that the cooperation between Turkish Parliament and the German Bundestag should be increased in order to achieve strengthened ties.

Turkey refused on Friday to grant permission to seven German lawmakers who were planning to visit German soldiers stationed at a NATO base in the central Turkish province of Konya, Berlin officials said.

The Bundestag's press office said last week that the seven lawmakers were due to visit the base on July 17 in order to assess the scope of German participation in reconnaissance flights over Syria.

Turkish diplomatic sources in the Foreign Ministry told Daily Sabah that the reason for the ban on the German delegation was the presence of some parliamentarians who favor terrorist groups such as the PKK and extremist, Leftist group the Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C).

Previously, the two countries were locked in a fierce diplomatic dispute after German lawmakers were denied a visit to the Incirlik Air Base. Consequently, the German parliament decided to withdraw German troops from that air base, redeploying them at another air base in Jordan.

The redeployment of German aircraft and personnel from the İncirlik Air Base started on July 9, German media outlets reported. The redeployment process is expected to take months rather than weeks.

German diplomatic sources said that the withdrawal of German troops and aircraft from the İncirlik Air Base is, indeed, a good step towards moving forward. The sources went on to suggest that the İncirlik crisis, which has been a huge obstacle in Turkish-German relations, has now been solved as a result of the withdrawal decision.

The crises between the two countries were not limited to bans on German delegations' visits to air bases in Turkey. Germany recently denied President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan the right to address fellow Turkish citizens living in Germany when Erdoğan was in the country for the G20 summit held in Hamburg.

The president blasted the decision, calling the action "political suicide" for the German government. Germany said Erdoğan's address was not deemed appropriate at the time, a reason that was put forward by Ankara for the earlier ban on the German delegation due to visit İncirlik.

Meanwhile, Germany has taken action in line with the remarks made by the high-level German diplomatic sources who spoke with Daily Sabah.

Hamza Dağ, a deputy chairman for the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) was allowed to attend an event held for the commemoration of the July 15 coup attempt in the German city of Nuremberg over the weekend.Speaking at the event held at the Maritim Hotel Nürnberg under the auspices of a Turkish consular meeting in Nuremberg, Dağ criticized Western countries for not siding with the Turkish government effectively enough in the face of a coup attempt.

"If bombs had been dropped on [German] Parliament, 249 citizens had been killed, thousands of people had been injured and that ally country had stayed silent until now, what would your reaction have been?" Dağ asked the German authorities in his speech, invoking the events of the July 15 coup attempt.

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