German lawmakers visit NATO military base in Turkey

ANKARA (Sarzameen News)- A delegation of seven German lawmakers visited the NATO military base in Turkey’s central province of Konya on Friday, amid bilateral tensions between the two NATO allies.

A NATO plane carrying the delegation members, led by Deputy Secretary-General Rose Gottemoeller, flew to Turkey from Brussels and landed in Konya early Friday.

The German officials met with German troops operating early warning aircraft. No press were allowed to cover the German lawmakers’ visit in Konya, local media reported.

About 30 German military personnel are based in Konya, where they provide intelligence support to the international coalition fighting the Islamic State under NATO’s command.

The Konya visit came after NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg stepped in to arrange a deal between Ankara and Berlin in July, state-run Anadolu Agency reported.

Turkey has previously denied Germany’s attempt to visit troops deployed at the Incirlik air base near the southern province of Adana, which pushed Berlin to move its soldiers and Tornado aircraft to Jordan.

As a reconciliatory move after the refusal, Ankara permitted German officials to visit the Konyabase, saying their troops were under the NATO mission.

Relations between Turkey and Germany have been strained over a string of diplomatic arguments, such as the arrest of several German nationals in Turkey and Germany granting asylum to fleeing suspects from Turkey linked with the Gulenist Movement, which is blamed by Ankara for the coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

Recently, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has called for an end to Turkey’s bid to join the EU and warned against its citizens visiting the country.

Ankara has repeatedly said it would not allow German lawmakers to participate in Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) activities.

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