Turkey bars German MPs in new escalation of allies' row

Turkey bars German MPs in new escalation of allies' row

Turkey bars German MPs in new escalation of allies' row

Germany's parliamentary defense committee was told on Friday that its trip to a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation military base in south-western Turkey will be postponed, at the request of the Turkish government.

Russia's new Ambassador to Turkey Alexey Yerkhov arrived in Ankara on Saturday, the credentials will be handed over on Monday, local media reported.

"We regret Turkey's request to delay the journey of a parliamentary delegation", a German foreign ministry official said on Friday.

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In May Turkey authorized a visit to Konya, but then revoked its permission due to increased bilateral tensions, said Rainer Arnold, defense spokesperson for the Social Democrats (SPD), the junior party in Chancellor Angela Merkel's governing coalition.

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Ankara has postponed permission for German lawmakers to visit their country's soldiers who are serving at an air base near the Turkish city of Konya over deteriorating ties between the two countries, officials in Berlin say.

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German soldiers contribute to a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation air surveillance mission at Konya, 250 km (150 miles) south of the Turkish capital Ankara, and its troops stationed at another air base, in Incirlik, have already been moved to Jordan.

In 2016, Turkey denied German lawmakers access in response to a resolution passed by the Bundestag declaring the 1915 massacre of Armenians by Ottoman forces was a "genocide".

Relations between Turkey and Germany, home to millions of ethnic Turks, have been badly strained, especially since the failed coup attempt nearly one year ago against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The withdrawal started earlier this week.

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel insisted in a television interview on Sunday that German lawmakers should be allowed to visit the Bundeswehr soldiers at the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation air base in Konya.

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