German lawmakers to visit NATO base in Turkey

Source: Xinhua| 2017-08-08 21:21:08|Editor: Zhou Xin
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BERLIN, Aug. 8 (Xinhua) -- A group of German lawmakers have been allowed to visit the NATO base in Konya, Turkey next month, German news channel ARD reported Tuesday.

The ARD report said Federal Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel had informed the Defense Committee of the Federal Parliament in a letter about the travel authorization.

NATO also announced that Germany and Turkey had reached agreement on the date of the visit on Sept. 8 after mediation by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

The delegation, including seven delegates from all factions, is to be headed by the Deputy Secretary General of NATO, Rose Gottemoeller. The visit will be officially conducted by the NATO, but not the German Federal Parliament.

NATO supports the fight against the terrorist organization the Islamic State (IS) with reconnaissance aircraft from the base in Konya.

In mid-July, Turkey indefinitely postponed an already approved visit of German parliamentarians to the German soldiers in Konya, which further strained the tension of the bilateral relations. German politicians consequently threatened a withdrawal of the soldiers from the base.

In June, German lawmakers were refused to visit German soldiers stationed at the Turkish air base in Incirlik, which prompted Berlin to relocate the soldiers to a base in Jordan. The Federal Foreign Office called the refusal to visit the troops "absolutely unacceptable."

The German army is a parliamentary army, and for this reason, members of the German Parliament demand free access to the troops at all times.