Merkel seeks solution to new airbase dispute with Turkey

Claudine Rigal
Juillet 17, 2017

Nato's Secretary General has urged the Turkish and German foreign ministers to resolve their differences over visits to Turkish air bases, part of a wider row between the two allies. "This whole issue is unfortunate, very unfortunate", Merkel told public broadcaster ARD, adding that more talks were needed to find a solution, also with the help of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

"In terms of Konya, this is more about a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation mission, for which Germany is providing significant contribution. Therefore, not only the German government, but also North Atlantic Treaty Organisation would have talks with Turkey", said Merkel.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel looks up as she arrives for the annual "Summer Interview" with the German broadcasting service ARD in Berlin, Germany, Sunday, July 16, 2017.

German soldiers contribute to a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation air surveillance mission at Konya, 250 km south of the Turkish capital Ankara, and its troops stationed at another air base, in Incirlik, have already been moved to Jordan.

Several German politicians called for withdrawing German soldiers from Konya airbase, due to Ankara's reluctance to give permission to such visits. However, Merkel declined to take hasty decisions and opted to wait for the result of talks with Turkey.

Previously, the two countries were locked in a fierce diplomatic dispute after German lawmakers were denied a visit to the Incirlik Air Base.

In June, Germany chose to withdraw its Tornado surveillance jets and around 260 troops from Incirlik, another key military base in Turkey.

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