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German lawmakers to visit troops at NATO military base in Konya

GERMAN LAWMAKERS TO VISIT TROOPS AT NATO MILITARY BASE IN KONYA

Seven German lawmakers will visit troops at a NATO air base in central Konya province on July 17 after Turkey said it will not allow German parliamentarians to visit the Incirlik Base and offered the Konya option.

The seven Bundestag lawmakers are due to visit the base in south-western Turkey on July 17 in order to assess Germany's participation in reconnaissance flights over Syria, parliament's press office said on Friday.

Between 20 and 30 German troops are normally stationed at the base in support of NATO's anti-Daesh operations.

Berlin-Ankara relations have recently been strained over several issues, including Germany's decision to withdraw its troops from the İncirlik Air Base in Turkey.

The decision came after German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel visited Ankara on June 5, where he also met with President Recep Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Turkey did not allow German lawmakers to visit their soldiers stationed at İncirlik, 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, the EU and the U.S.

Ahead of parliamentary elections in September, Angela Merkel's coalition partner, the Social Democratic Party (SPD), took a surprise decision and demanded withdrawing German soldiers from İncirlik, in protest to Turkey's stance.

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