Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Turkey lifts ban on German lawmakers visiting troops

Berlin –  Turkish government on Thursday, lifted a ban on German lawmakers visiting Bundeswehr troops stationed at the strategic Incirlik airbase in the country’s south-east, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said.

The ban on Bundestag lawmakers visiting the base, from which Germany is supporting a U.S.-led military coalition against the Islamic State group, was imposed amid a protracted diplomatic row between the two countries.

Strained relations between Germany and Turkey worsened in May, when the parliament in Berlin passed a resolution that declared the mass killing of Armenians during World War I to be genocide.

Last week, the German government insisted that the resolution was “not legally binding,” a move interpreted by many as a concession to Turkey in an attempt to end the ban.

A source in Berlin said that a delegation from the parliamentary committee for military affairs will visit Incirlik in October.

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The Bundeswehr is what is referred to as a “parliamentary army,” meaning that every deployment has to be approved by a simple majority vote.

“A parliamentary army has to be able to receive visits from its lawmakers.

“This decision by the Turkish government takes us one step further,” Steinmeier said.

Turkey, the Ottoman Empire’s successor state, accepts that many Armenians were killed during the conflict, but vehemently rejects that the killings constitute genocide. (dpa/NAN)

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