- Title: Germany has no choice but to pull out of Turkey airbase -Gabriel
- Date: 5th June 2017
- Summary: ANKARA, TURKEY (JUNE 5, 2017) (REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE) (German) GERMAN FOREIGN MINISTER, SIGMAR GABRIEL, SAYING: "My Turkish colleague has explained to me that, at the current situation, Turkey cannot approve visits of all lawmakers in Incirlik. That is for domestic political reasons. I regret that." JOURNALISTS (SOUNDBITE) (German) GERMAN FOREIGN MINISTER, SIGMAR GABRIEL, SAYING: "In reverse I asked for your understanding that we, for domestic reasons as well, must transfer German soldiers out of Incirlik. Because the German parliament has a parliamentary army and insists on the fact that German soldiers can be visited by German lawmakers at any time." OFFICIALS LISTENING (SOUNDBITE) (German) GERMAN FOREIGN MINISTER, SIGMAR GABRIEL, SAYING: "Today was supposed to clarify whether there are any chances to reach such an agreement fast. Our Turkish colleagues don't see a chance for that as far as Incirlik is concerned. But in Konya (alternative base) they do. And I will asked my colleague (German Defence Minister Ursula) von der Leyen to inform the cabinet, the German parliament (Bundestag) and then the process will start (of pulling out). And we want that together with our Turkish colleagues to be peaceful." MEDIA (SOUNDBITE) (German) GERMAN FOREIGN MINISTER, SIGMAR GABRIEL, SAYING: "The German-Turkish relations are in trouble at the moment. But sometimes it is a good thing to remember that they have been excellent at some point." JOURNALIST (SOUNDBITE) (Turkish) TURKISH FOREIGN MINISTER, MEVLUT CAVUSOGLU, SAYING: "As our President (Tayyip Erdogan) told Chancellor (Angela) Merkel during the meeting in Brussels, our proposal for the German delegation is to visit the NATO base in Konya. It is good to start with this. We have talked about all these issues today, including Incirlik. For the moment it is possible to visit the NATO base in Konya rather than Incirlik airbase." CAMERAMAN FILMING (SOUNDBITE) (Turkish) TURKISH FOREIGN MINISTER, MEVLUT CAVUSOGLU, SAYING: "We see that the issue of Deniz Yucel is very important for Germany. Here is the reality and Germany knows this well. The accusations about Yucel are not related with journalism. They are related with terrorism. And this is a very sensitive matter for all of us. Germany has independent courts and judiciary, in our country, independent judiciary is carrying out the process as well. The judiciary will make the decision on Yucel." OFFICIALS LISTENING (SOUNDBITE) (Turkish) TURKISH FOREIGN MINISTER, MEVLUT CAVUSOGLU, SAYING: "Secret services have begun using journalists as agents in Turkey. Why? Because, when they (agents) are caught, they can heap pressure on Turkey by launching a campaign saying journalists are arrested and in jail. In the previous days, a journalist from another country was arrested. He took pictures of our military bases, which were supposed to remain covert. Then he shared these pictures in Iraq." OFFICIALS LISTENING (SOUNDBITE) (Turkish) TURKISH FOREIGN MINISTER, MEVLUT CAVUSOGLU, SAYING: "Germany should not become a sheltering centre for members of FETO (Fetullah Terrorist Organization under its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen). The same investigations must be carried out for these people. If their financial sources are investigated, the truth will be unveiled. Those who were involved in the coup and who went to Germany from Turkey to take shelter must be extradited back to Turkey." OFFICIALS LISTENING GABRIEL AND CAVUSOGLU SHAKING HANDS AND LEAVING
- Embargoed: 19th June 2017 13:33
- Keywords: Recep Tayyip Erdogan Incirlik Mevlut Cavusoglu Sigmar Gabriel Turkey
- Location: ANKARA, GERMANY
- City: ANKARA, GERMANY
- Country: Turkey
- Topics: Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA0036K01XL3
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Germany has no choice but to begin the process of pulling its forces out of Incirlik air force base in Turkey as the Turkish government will not allow all German lawmakers to visit troops there, Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said on Monday (June 5).
"My Turkish colleague has explained to me that, at the current situation, Turkey cannot approve visits of all lawmakers in Incirlik. That is for domestic political reasons," Gabriel told a news conference after meeting Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu in Ankara who had aimed to address the stand-off over Incirlik and other diplomatic tensions between the two NATO allies.
As its operations are approved by parliament, German lawmakers must be able to visit the Bundeswehr, Gabriel added.
"Turkey must understand that in this situation, we must transfer German soldiers out of Incirlik," he said. "In this situation, the Bundestag (parliament) will ask the government to find another location for the German soldiers in Incirlik."
Shortly after he spoke, sources in Prime Minister Binali Yildirim's office said the Turkish premier had cancelled a planned meeting with Gabriel, citing a busy work schedule.
Ties between Turkey and Germany deteriorated sharply in the run-up to Turkey's April 16 referendum that handed President Tayyip Erdogan stronger presidential powers.
Turkey was infuriated when Germany, citing security concerns, banned some Turkish politicians from addressing rallies of expatriate Turks before the referendum. Ankara responded by accusing Berlin of "Nazi-like" tactics.
Turkey has prevented German lawmakers from visiting the roughly 250 troops stationed at Incirlik as part of the U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State, saying that Berlin needs to improve its attitude first.
It has also called on Berlin to extradite people who are seeking asylum in Germany and have suspected links to last July's attempted coup in Turkey.
Commenting on the case of German-Turkish journalist Deniz Yucel, whom Turkey arrested in February on a charge of spreading terrorist propaganda, Cavusoglu said that Yucel's case was a matter for the courts and that there was a trend in Europe for intelligence agencies to use journalists as agents.
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