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Visit to NATO base

Members of the German Bundestag visit Konya NATO base in Turkey

Following extensive political and diplomatic negotiations Turkey has given permission for Members of the German Bundestag to visit the Konya NATO base in Turkey. The visit was organised by NATO. The Members of the Bundestag arrived in Konya on Friday morning.

A NATO handout with a picture of an AWACS plane landing at the NATO base in Konya The visit was organised by NATO Photo: picture alliance / dpa

A NATO AWACS reconnaissance plane left Brussels Airport at 8 a.m. on Friday morning with seven members of the Defence Committee in the German Bundestag on board. The plane landed in Konya in Turkey late in the morning.

Delayed visit

The visit was originally scheduled to take place back in July, but Turkey had postponed it. Difficult diplomatic talks had to be held at various levels after that. Following the Federal Government’s decision to withdraw German Tornado jets from Incirlik, it fell to NATO to organise the visit by Members of the German Bundestag to the Konya NATO base in Turkey as part of the negotiations.

Foreign Office welcomes visit

During their visit the Members of the Bundestag were able to speak to Bundeswehr soldiers stationed in Konya and to get to know the base and local conditions. "We would like to thank NATO for organising this visit," Martin Schäfer, Federal Foreign Office Spokesman, said on Friday in Berlin.

"Not a sustainable, viable solution"

Martin Schäfer also made it clear, though, that he did not wish to attach too much political importance to the trip. What was important for the Federal Government was that the visit was made possible, "since that has to be a matter of course for an army that is under parliamentary control". Schäfer added that "given the amount of political and diplomatic effort involved, this visit is not a sustainable, viable solution".

The members of the delegation were accompanied by Deputy Secretary General of NATO Rose Gottemoeller.

Konya NATO base
- AWACS planes fly various successive missions from Konya: First, they provide support to the military coalition fighting the so-called Islamic State group; second, they conduct reconnaissance missions for Turkey, Bulgaria and Romania. Between 10 and 15 German soldiers are currently involved in these missions.
- AWACS are a NATO capability that Germany supports financially and in terms of personnel (second largest contribution after the United States, approx. 30 per cent).
- AWACS are airborne radar systems that are primarily used to patrol the skies. They carry out surveillance and advise pilots so as to prevent mid-air collisions, for instance. They thus also help to make air traffic as safe as possible.

Friday, 8 September 2017