ANKARA (Combined Sources) — Turkish permission for German lawmakers to visit the Incirlik air base will depend on the German government distancing itself from a resolution branding a 1915 massacre of Armenians as “genocide,” Turkey’s foreign minister said on Monday.
Turkey, angered by a resolution passed by the German parliament recognizing the Armenian Genocide in June, has denied German lawmakers access to the base near the Syrian frontier.
Six German surveillance jets and a refueling tanker are using it to support the US-led coalition’s strikes on Islamic State. Some German lawmakers have threatened to end the mission unless Ankara allows them to visit.
“It depends on the steps taken by Germany. If they take the necessary steps we will enable this visit,”
told a news conference in Ankara, when asked about allowing the German lawmakers access to the base.
“But unfortunately I have to say that those that mingle and manipulate our history in an unfair manner cannot be allowed on this visit,” he said, in reference to the Armenian resolution.
Foreign Ministry officials said “necessary steps” meant the German government distancing itself from the parliamentary resolution and making clear it did not support it.
Germany’s Foreign Minister FrankWalter Steinmeier responded brusquely to Cavusolgu, saying if Turkey continues denying German lawmakers to visit the base, German troops stationed there with the goal of fighting IS will be withdrawn, according to Deutsche Welle. “Since the federal parliament affirms the issue of foreign military missions in Incirlik, then it is necessary for the lawmakers to be able to visit the mission”, he said.
He denied Cavusoglu’s demand regarding Germany distancing itself from the Armenian genocide resolution. “I don’t think this has anything to do with the matter and I have told this to my Turkish colleague,” Steinmeier said.
The German Foreign Ministry spokesman Martin Schaefer added: “A resolution of the German Bundestag is a political declaration of a German constitutional body,” Schaefer told reporters. “I believe it is a very good idea … that constitutional entities only comment on each other’s work very carefully, if at all.”
Germany’s European Affairs Minister Michael Roth, who just returned to Germany from a visit to Ankara, earlier told broadcaster Suedwestrundfunk that the two countries had made progress in resolving the dispute over Incirlik.
“I have the impression that there is great movement here,” Roth said. “I hope and wish that parliamentarians from our Bundestag will soon be able to visit our soldiers.”
Tense relations between the NATO allies soured further after Turkey’s failed July 15 coup, with Turkey unhappy about what it saw as a slow German response in condemning the action.
(Reports from Deutsche Welle and Reuters were used.)