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No Breakthrough In Turkey, German Impasse Over Incirlik Base

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (right) and Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu

Turkey says it will maintain a ban on visits by German politicians to the Incirlik air base, which has been at the center of a dispute between NATO allies since Ankara blocked a visit last month by German lawmakers.

"At the moment, a visit to the NATO base in Konya is possible, rather than Incirlik," Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told a news conference after talks in Ankara with his German counterpart, Sigmar Gabriel, on June 5.

Gabriel said that Germany has no choice but to begin the process of pulling its troops out of Incirlik.

"Turkey has made clear that, for domestic political reasons, it cannot approve visits of all lawmakers," Gabriel told reporters, saying thay, "in this situation, we must transfer German soldiers out of Incirlik."

Germany has at least 250 military personnel stationed in Incirlik in southern Turkey, as part of the U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State extremist group.

Turkey, angered by German authorities' decision to grant asylum to soldiers it accuses of participating in last year's failed coup, blocked a request for lawmakers to visit Incirlik in May.

Ties between the two countries deteriorated sharply in the run-up to Turkey's April 16 referendum that handed President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stronger presidential powers.

Based on reporting by AFP, AP, Reuters, and dpa