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Turkey banning German lawmakers from visiting German personnel at the NATO military base in Konya is a matter of relations within the alliance, and Berlin must urge NATO to settle the issue, chairman of the Defense Committee of the German Parliament Wolfgang Hellmich said on Monday.
Earlier in July, the German Foreign Ministry had informed a group of lawmakers that their visit to Konya base, initially scheduled for July 17, was banned by Ankara. German government spokesman Steffen Seibert later explained that the visit was not canceled, but postponed to a later date. However, no information on the possible new date of the visit was provided.
"After all, this is a NATO base, so it is not a bilateral question, as in case of Incirlik. It is an alliance question. The federal government must strongly push for NATO to completely clarify the issue," Hellmich said in an interview with Die Welt newspaper.
Hellmich stressed that Germany does not want and cannot afford to depend on "case-to-case" decisions of Ankara.
In May, Ankara canceled a German delegation's visit to the Incirlik airbase, where German military personnel and jets were stationed, the day before the visit was scheduled to begin. In early June, Berlin responded to Ankara’s move by announcing the withdrawal its troops from the base, which started in July.
The relations between Berlin and Ankara became tense after German-Turkish reporter of Die Welt newspaper Deniz Yucel was arrested in Istanbul in February over alleged links to terrorist organizations and propaganda. The situation between both nations worsened after Germany banned Ankara's from holding pre-referendum rallies on German soil.
2017.07.24 / 09:12