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Turkey approves German access to Incirlik

September 8, 2016

Access demanded by German MPs to the Incirlik NATO air base in southern Turkey has been restored, Berlin has confirmed. The visit is likely to take place in early October.

Türkei Bundeswehr Luftwaffenstützpunkt Incirlik
Image: Bundeswehr/Falk Bärwald/dpa

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier confirmed on Thursday that Turkish authorities had lifted the ban on German MPs visiting Bundeswehr troops stationed at the facility.

Steinmeier said he welcomed the decision.

"An army that answers to parliament must be able to be visited by their deputies," he said. "With this decision by the Turkish government, we are a little further on in our relations."

Ankara banned access to Incirlik in June in anger at a resolution passed by the German parliament declaring that the 1915 massacre of Armenians by Ottoman Turkish forces amounted to "genocide."

Although it accepts that millions were killed, Turkey vehemently rejects the term, and relations between the two countries have deteriorated.

Turkey has insisted that the German government distance itself from the resolution, which Berlin has said is not legally binding.

Following Turkey's confirmation, a delegation from the parliamentary committee for military affairs will visit Incirlik in October, a source in Berlin told the German news agency DPA.

The Incirlik air base, located in southern Turkey, is being used by the US-led military coalition against the Islamic State (IS) group. Germany has some 240 Bundeswehr soldiers and Tornado reconnaissance aircraft involved in the military campaign in Syria and Iraq.

Karte - Flugstützpunkt Incirlik in Türkei

At one point, Germany had threatened to pull its military out of the facility.

On Tuesday, the magazine "Der Spiegel" said Berlin was prepared to invest in new German facilities at the busy air base.

mm/jil (AP, dpa, Reuters)