NATO AWACS deployment in Turkey

Visit by members of the Bundestag postponed

Turkey has asked to postpone an already approved trip by members of the German Bundestag to the NATO base in Konya. Talks are now being held with Turkey on all levels, including through NATO, government spokesperson Seibert said on Monday.

A NATO handout shows an AWACS reconnaissance aircraft at the airport of the Konya advanced military base.

Merkel: "We should first wait for the outcome of the talks" which need to be held with Turkey, including via NATO.

Photo: picture alliance/dpa

After the visit by members of the Bundestag was postponed this weekend, Federal Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg have already been in contact.

Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel had also discussed the possibility for members of the Bundestag to visit German troops in Konya with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the margins of the NATO summit in Brussels at the end of May.
Shortly after the NATO summit, Federal Foreign Minister Gabriel had traveled to Turkey, where he had also addressed the right to visit troops.

"Right to visit our soldiers"

The Chancellor spoke on the question of the right of members of the Bundestag to visit soldiers during her "summer interview" with the German public broadcaster ARD on 16 July, adopting a clear position: "We have the right to visit our soldiers without any additional requirements", she said. "Concerning Konya, we must look at the bigger picture. The fight against ISIS is at a crucial stage, and it is important to weigh up reliability against this right, but we will certainly not accept any limiting conditions."

The Chancellor thus emphasised that the right of members of the Bundestag to visit soldiers would not be negotiated in connection with asylum issues, for example "especially since the questions regarding the granting of asylum and people asking for protection in Germany are completely independent of this and are not decided by the Federal Government, but by the relevant authorities."

Asked about a new date for the visit, government spokesperson Steffen Seibert said on Monday at the government press conference: "I do not consider it useful at this moment to raise time expectations or to discuss time limits." Talks are already being held with Turkey at all levels, including within NATO, he added.

Konya NATO base Fact check
• AWACS (Airborne Early Warning and Control System) aircraft carry out various consecutive missions from Konya, supporting the anti-IS coalition and carrying out reconnaissance flights for Turkey, Bulgaria and Romania. 10 to 15 German soldiers are currently involved.
• AWACS is a NATO capacity, to which Germany contributes financially and with personnel (second largest contribution after the United States, around 30 per cent).
• AWACS aircraft are flying radar stations that mainly monitor the airspace. In doing so, they gain an overview and advise pilots, in order to avoid collisions, for example, thus contributing to the safety of flight operations.