German lawmakers permitted to visit troops in Turkey despite tensions

German lawmakers permitted to visit troops in Turkey despite tensions

Today, German officials will visit their country’s soldiers stationed at the NATO air base in Konya. Tensions between the two

German Defence Minister von der Leyen chats with soldiers during a visit of the German Armed Forces Bundeswehr at the air base in Incirlik

Photo: Reuters/Tobias Schwarz

Today, German officials will visit their country’s soldiers stationed at the NATO air base in Konya.

Tensions between the two states have been mounting. Berlin has criticised the increasingly autocratic government in Ankara and has refused to extradite numerous Turks who are accused of having played a role in last year’s coup attempt. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was particularly incensed when Germany barred Turkish officials from campaigning there ahead of April’s constitutional referendum; he called German leaders “Nazis” in response.

Conversely, Turkey, under protest from Berlin, is holding a German journalist on terror-related charges. In May, Turkish officials denied German lawmakers permission to visit troops stationed at the Incirlik air base; Berlin recalled its forces from the base and moved them to Jordan.

Despite Ankara’s allowing German lawmakers to visit their troops, do not assume this move represents any significant thawing of tensions between Turkey and Germany. To Erdogan’s chagrin, both candidates for chancellor, Angela Merkel and Martin Schulz, have championed halting Turkey’s EU accession bid. In a debate, the heavily favoured incumbent gave her timetable for Turkish membership: “never”.

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