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German lawmaker wants security guarantee during visit to NATO airbase in Turkey

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Alexander Neu, a German lawmaker from the far-left Left party, demanded security guarantees from the German foreign ministry before visiting German soldiers at a NATO airbase in Turkey next month.

According to Reuters, Neu told the German Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper he was worried about his safety before the trip to a NATO Airbase in Konya given Turkey’s “absurd” claim that he had contacts with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is classified as a terrorist group in Germany and the European Union.

“It has to be clear that I will be able to get out of Turkey,” said Neu.

German foreign ministry spokesman Martin Schaefer said during a government news conference on Wednesday that “we have a firm commitment from the Turkish government that such a visit can take place, and we will hold them to it.”

Turkey has agreed to let the lawmakers visit soldiers at the Konya airbase on Sept. 8 as part of a NATO trip after refusing a German-led trip in July in which Neu had also expected to participate.

Parliamentary sources told Reuters that they expected Neu to be on the list for next month’s NATO-led trip, and that fact had likely been shared with Turkish officials in working out a compromise for the trip.

Speaking to Passauer Neue Presse on Wednesday, German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen welcomed Turkey’s agreement to the upcoming visit by lawmakers to Konya and lauded NATO for its initiative.

“We’ve been very patient with Ankara. Of course Turkey is threatened by a bloody conflict on its borders and terrorism, but that is no reason to throw the rule of law overboard, limit freedom of expression and hold German citizens in jail without any legal basis,” she said.

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