TURKEY

MHP leader backs gov’t stance in Incirlik row with Germany

MHP LEADER BACKS GOV’T STANCE IN INCIRLIK ROW WITH GERMANY

Opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli on Tuesday backed the government's ruling against a visit by German lawmakers to the Incirlik air base in Turkey's south.

Speaking at a meeting of MHP lawmakers, he criticized German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel's remarks on the possible withdrawal of German troops from the base in Adana province.

"They could withdraw soldiers this week or next week," he said, adding: "Good riddance to you."

Bahçeli's comments came amid worsening ties between Berlin and Ankara over a row about granting German lawmakers access to troops stationed at the NATO base.

Turkey blocked the visit after complained that some lawmakers were openly supportive of the PKK -- a terrorist organization proscribed by Turkey, the EU and the U.S.

"They could find another country," Bahçeli added. "Why do you hang around, what are you waiting for, why are you wasting time? Are you going to Jordan or Timbuktu? Go without a backward glance."

He also suggested Germany could pull its troops out of a NATO air base in Konya province.

On Monday, Gabriel said lawmakers had a constitutional right to visit German armed forces as they are controlled by parliament.

German ministers are due to discuss a potential withdrawal from Incirlik on Wednesday

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