Turkey not to open Incirlik to German officials unless “positive steps” seen: FM

By on May 31, 2017


Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu. (Photo: Dutch Government/Martijn Beekman via EU2016 NL/Flickr, CC BY 2.0)
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu. (Photo: Dutch Government/Martijn Beekman via EU2016 NL/Flickr, CC BY 2.0)

ANKARA, May 31 — Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Tuesday that Turkey will not open its Incirlik air base to German lawmakers who want to meet German soldiers stationed there unless Germany takes “positive steps.”

“It is not possible to open the Incirlik base for visit, but we might reconsider the decision in the future if we see ‘positive steps’ from Germany,” Cavusoglu said at a press conference with his Gabonese counterpart Pacome Moubelet Boubeya, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday that her country was likely to withdraw soldiers from Incirlik air base following Turkey denied permissions for German lawmakers’ visit last week.

Cavusoglu said he will hold talks with German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel in Ankara next week, but he stressed that the visit remains “out of the question.”

The talks with Gabriel will focus on strained ties between the two countries, the foreign minister added.

Relations between Turkey and Germany have been strained when German lawmakers cancelled last Wednesday a much expected trip to Ankara to conduct political talks amid bitter differences between the two NATO allies.

A small delegation of German MPs was scheduled to visit Turkish capital for a three-day visit.

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel called Ankara’s actions a “serious event” that did not help make dialogue any easier.

Germany has stationed six Tornado surveillance jets and a tanker aircraft at Incirlik since 2015, along with around 260 personnel, providing intelligence and logistics support for counter Islamic State (IS) operations. (Xinhua)