Turkey Grants Germany Access to İncirlik After Meeting ‘expectations’
Turkey has granted German MPs access to its İncirlik airbase, after months of refusing to grant permission unless the German government distanced itself from its parliament’s resolution recognizing the massacre of Armenians by Ottoman forces as genocide. Turkey’s Foreign Minister said Germany had met Ankara’s request.
“We have given permission to German parliamentarians to visit İncirlik since German authorities have met our expectations with a statement that the bill on the so-called genocide is not legally binding,” Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said during a press conference on Thursday.
Germany’s Foreign Minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, confirmed that Turkish authorities had granted access.
“An army that answers to parliament must be able to be visited by their deputies,” Steinmeier said on Thursday, according to Germany’s Deutsche Welle. “With this decision by the Turkish government, we are a little further on in our relations.”
In June, Turkey had banned a planned visit of German lawmakers scheduled for July. German planes partaking in the global campaign against Islamic State are based in Incirlik.
In August, Çavuşoğlu said Germany could visit if the government distanced itself from its parliament’s decision to recognize the Armenian genocide. “But unfortunately, I have to say that those that mingle and manipulate our history in an unfair manner cannot be allowed on this visit,” he said.
Germany threatened to withdraw its planes if its lawmakers were not granted access.
Last week, Steinmeier said that the parliament’s vote on the genocide was “not legally binding.”
“The German parliament naturally has the right and the freedom to pass any resolution it likes, but the Bundestag [parliament] itself has said that not every resolution is legally binding,” he told reporters.
A delegation from the German parliamentary committee for military affairs will visit Incirlik in October, a source told the German news agency DPA.
Germany has six Panavia Tornado reconnaissance jets, an aerial refueling tanker, and 250 soldiers stationed in Incirlik.