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Turkey to maintain ban on German visits to Incirlik airbase : Turkish FM

TURKEY TO MAINTAIN BAN ON GERMAN VISITS TO INCIRLIK AIRBASE : TURKISH FM

Germany has not managed to secure access to visit its troops at the Incirlik airbase in southern Turkey, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said after talks in Ankara. Çavuşoğlu also said that visits to the airbase would not be allowed for the time being.

Turkey will maintain a ban on visits by German politicians to a key airbase in its south which is used for raids against Daesh group in Syria, the foreign minister said Monday.

"Right now it is possible to visit the NATO base in Konya (in central Turkey), not Incirlik," Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu told a news conference with his German counterpart Sigmar Gabriel in Ankara.

The Incirlik base in southern Turkey has been at the centre of a spat between the NATO allies since Ankara blocked a visit last month by German parliamentarians.

Germany has 250 military personnel stationed there flying Tornado surveillance missions over Syria and refuelling flights for partner nations battling Daesh.

Turkey justified preventing the German parliamentary group from visiting the base by accusing Berlin of having offered political asylum to Turkish nationals who took part in the July 2016 attempted coup.

Çavuşoğlu said on Monday that Turkey had no problem with Germany, which is a major trade partner, adding: "If Germany takes one step forward toward us, we will always take two steps further."

But he said some facts cannot be ignored, adding that more than 400 Turkish diplomatic or official passport holders had sought asylum in Germany.

"We would not like to see members of FETO take shelter in friendly country Germany," he said, referring to a movement led by US-based FETO ringleader Fetullah Gülen who masterminded the failed 15 July coup.

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