Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on Tuesday he will hold talks with his German counterpart Sigmar Gabriel over the future of Turkey’s Incirlik air base, but said it is not possible for German lawmakers to visit the base now.
Speaking at a press conference with the foreign minister of Gabon, Çavuşoğlu said: “It is not possible to open the Incirlik base for visit, but we might reconsider the decision in the future if we see ‘positive steps’ from Germany.”
Çavuşoğlu said that “Germany’s way of handling Turkey is troubling” and the talks with Gabriel will focus on strained ties between the two countries.
Turkey has been reluctant to give permission for German lawmakers to visit their soldiers stationed in Incirlik, due to controversial statements, mostly made by lawmakers from the socialist Die Linke party (The Left) who publicly announced their support to the PKK, which is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, Germany and other NATO countries.
Ahead of parliamentary elections in September, Merkel’s coalition partner the Social Democratic Party (SPD) took a surprise decision and demanded withdrawing German soldiers from Incirlik, in protest to Turkey’s stance.
Since 2015, Germany has stationed six Tornado surveillance jets and a tanker aircraft at Incirlik, along with around 260 personnel, providing intelligence and logistics support for anti-Daesh operations.