21 February 2018

NATO steps in to resolve Turkey-Germany dispute

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NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has unveiled Monday a new proposal to resolve an ongoing dispute between Ankara and Berlin regarding German lawmakers’ visits to troops stationed in Turkey as part of Alliance missions. reports citing AA.

NATO’s deputy spokesman Piers Cazalet said Stoltenberg had conveyed his proposal to Turkey and Germany, following his conversations with his counterparts.

"In an effort to find a solution, the secretary general has now offered to arrange a visit for parliamentarians to Konya airfield within a NATO framework,” he said, referring to the base in the central Turkish city, where NATO’s AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control System) surveillance aircraft were deployed.

"Konya airfield is vital for NATO operations in support of Turkey and the Counter-ISIS [Daesh] Coalition. We hope that we can find a mutually acceptable solution as soon as possible,” he added.

NATO's mission in Konya provides intelligence support for the international coalition fighting Daesh and around a dozen German soldiers are stationed at the base.

Last week, Ankara postponed a planned visit by a group of German lawmakers to the base due to what growing uneasiness over NATO ally Germany’s reluctance in showing solidarity with Turkey in the fight against terrorism.

Ankara was particularly angry at the opposition Die Linke party (The Left), as several leading lawmakers from the socialist party publicly announced their support to the terrorist group PKK

4,000 FETO suspects in Germany

In June, Germany decided to withdraw its Tornado surveillance jets and around 260 troops from Incirlik, another key military base in Turkey, after a similar dispute between Berlin and Ankara.

The German government had underlined that the army was controlled by the parliament, which also decided on military deployments abroad, and insisted that such parliamentary visits should be possible without any restriction.

Ties between Ankara and Berlin have been strained in recent months as Turkish leaders slammed Germany for turning a blind eye to outlawed groups and terrorist organizations, which are hostile to Turkey.

While the PKK is listed as a terrorist organization both by NATO and the EU, the group has a large network in Germany and carries out significant propaganda, recruitment and funding activities.

The PKK resumed its violence in 2015, and since then it has been responsible for the deaths of around 1,200 people in Turkey.

Apart from the PKK, suspected members of the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), which are also known as Gulenists in Germany, are carrying out various activities in the country without apparent hindrance.

Ankara accuses FETO of having organized the attempted military takeover in Turkey last year.

2017.07.25 / 09:48
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