23:52 GMT12 July 2020
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    Despite the fact that the Turkish authorities banned members of the German Bundestag from attending the Konya military base, NATO sent a letter to Berlin inviting German MPs to visit the facility.

    In an interview with Sputnik Turkey, former chairman of Turkey's Council of Veterans Koray Gurbuz said that NATO representatives have no right to exert pressure on a sovereign state and act on behalf of the Turkish government in international politics.

    "Turkey is an independent and sovereign state. And German parliamentarians must take this into account. They can't visit military bases in Turkey when they want, even if these are NATO bases. To visit the base in Konya, the German government had to send an appropriate request to the Turkish competent authorities, and not to NATO structures," Gurbuz told Sputnik.

    In mid-July, Turkey banned the Bundestag Defense Committee from conducting a visit to the NATO military base in Konya, where German military personnel are stationed. German government spokesman Steffen Seibert later explained that the visit was not canceled, but rather postponed to a later date.
    Also in July, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg unveiled a proposal to arrange a German delegation's visit within the alliance's framework.

    "NATO's behavior in this situation was in my opinion incorrect. NATO Deputy Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller sent a letter to Berlin inviting German MPs to visit the base in Turkey. Ankara, after all, had its reasons to ban the Germans from visiting the base. And the behavior of Mrs. Gottemoeller was nothing else but excess of power, which is unacceptable," the Gurbuz sad.

    "According to the norms of international law and bilateral agreements signed by Turkey, NATO representatives have no right to exert pressure on a sovereign state and act on behalf of the Turkish government in international politics," he concluded.

    In May, Ankara canceled a German delegation's visit to another base in Turkey, the Incirlik military airfield, where German military personnel and jets were stationed, the day before the visit was scheduled to begin. In early June, Berlin responded to Ankara's move by announcing the withdrawal of its troops from the base, which started in July.

    Relations between Berlin and Ankara became tense after German-Turkish reporter of Die Welt newspaper Deniz Yucel was arrested in Istanbul in February over alleged links to terrorist organizations and propaganda. The situation between both nations worsened after Germany banned Ankara from holding pre-referendum rallies on German soil.


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    Konya military base, NATO, Germany, Turkey
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