Erdogan rebuffs Merkel, says German lawmakers still banned at base

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan rebuffed German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Saturday, saying a ban on German members of parliament visiting an air base in southern Turkey would remain.

The two leaders met on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Warsaw for the first time since Berlin angered Ankara last month when it declared the Ottoman Empire's killing of ethnic Armenians a century ago as genocide.

"Disagreements are not cleared by such a conversation, but I believe it was important that we talked," Merkel said after the meeting, adding that the atmosphere had been constructive.

Turkish-German relations have deteriorated since June 2, when German parliament declared as genocide the killings of as many as 1.5 million Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman Empire, of which Turkey is the successor state.

Turkish officials later blocked German political delegations from visiting the military base Incirlik, which the German army uses as a base for its Tornado reconnaissance jets being used in the fight against the extremist militia Islamic State.

A visit by Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen last week to Incirlik and Ankara was unsuccessful at getting the ban lifted.

Despite the tensions, defence experts from all German political parties in parliament decided on Wednesday that they would visit Incirlik, where some 240 German soldiers are based, in September.

Merkel and Erdogan last met six weeks ago in Istanbul.

Last update: Sat, 09/07/2016 - 16:02

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