Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Tensions Grow - Turkey Refuses To Grant Germans Access To Incirlik Airbase


While Angela Merkel is busy sowing the seeds of the next cold war between Germany and the Trump administration (and therefore the US, if only for the next three and a half years), a troubling flashpoint for Germany continues to grow in Turkey where on Tursday, Turkey's foreign minister said it is not possible to allow German lawmakers to visit troops stationed at Turkey's Incirlik air base now, although he said Ankara may reconsider if it sees "positive steps" from Berlin. It was not immediately clear just what Turkey's expectations, monetary or otherwise, were from Merkel for it to change its view.

"We see that Germany supports everything that is against Turkey," Mevlut Cavusoglu told a news conference in Ankara. "Under these circumstances it is not possible for us to open Incirlik to German lawmakers right now ... If they take positive steps in the future we can reconsider."

Turkey has prevented German lawmakers from visiting the roughly 250 troops stationed at Incirlik as part of the U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State, saying that Berlin needs to improve its attitude first.

According to Reuters, Cavusoglu also said the issue would be discussed with German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, who is due to visit Turkey on Monday. Ties between the NATO allies deteriorated sharply in the run-up to Turkey's April 16 referendum that handed President Tayyip Erdogan stronger presidential powers.

The recent deterioration in relations between Germany and Turkey developed when Germany, citing security concerns, banned some Turkish politicians from addressing rallies of expatriate Turks ahead of the referendum, infuriating Erdogan. Ankara responded by accusing Berlin of "Nazi-like" tactics. Germany has also expressed concern about the widespread security crackdown that followed last year's failed coup in Turkey. More than 100,000 people have been sacked or suspended from their jobs and more than 40,000 people jailed.

German officials said this month that 414 Turkish citizens with diplomatic passports and other government work permits had requested asylum since the attempted putsch. Berlin's interior ministry has confirmed that asylum requests had been approved for a number of the applicants, a move that angered Ankara.


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