The Turkish authorities announced on Monday that they have rejected a request from visiting German MPs to go to Incirlik Air Base in the south of the country, local media have reported. Such a visit was “considered inappropriate” at this time, revealed diplomatic sources.
According to Reuters, 250 German troops are stationed at the important base used by NATO. Chancellor Angela Merkel has said that her government could move them elsewhere if Ankara persists in denying permission for her country’s MPs to visit them.
“We will continue to talk with Turkey,” she told journalists on Monday, “but in parallel we will have to explore other ways of fulfilling our mandate.” That, added the German leader, means looking at alternatives to Incirlik, “and one alternative among others is Jordan.”
Ankara’s relations with Berlin were strained during the campaign for the Turkish referendum last month, when Merkel’s government banned Turkish politicians from addressing Turks living in Germany.
However, the Daily Sabah reported German media claims that the reason for the refusal of the visit request is related to Germany’s decision to grant asylum to 250 Gülenist diplomats and soldiers who served in a NATO base in Germany. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan blames Fethullah Gülen and his followers for the attempted coup in Turkey last year.