BERLIN (Reuters)—Turkey is blocking the plans of a senior German defense official to visit Incirlik air base in July, a spokesman for the German defense ministry said on Wednesday, in a sign of increasingly tense relations between the two NATO allies.
The spat appears to be over Germany’s Armenian Genocide resolution, Deutsche Welle reports.
Germany has about 250 soldiers stationed at the base in southern Turkey, along with six Tornado reconnaissance jets and a refueling plane, all of which are participating in a U.S.-led air campaign against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria.
“Turkish officials do not currently approve of the travel plans,” a ministry spokesperson said, confirming a report published by the website of the German magazine Spiegel.
Ralf Brauksiepe, a deputy to German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen, had planned to visit the Incirlik military air base along with some German lawmakers in July, the spokesperson said, adding that Berlin still hoped the trip could go ahead.
Turkish officials were not immediately available for comment.
Just last week, a German Defense Ministry spokesperson had said the two countries were finalizing an agreement on construction of new housing and aircraft facilities for German forces at the Incirlik air base, holding the deal up as evidence of the continued strength of German-Turkish military relations.
Ties between Germany and Turkey have been strained over a number of issues, including a resolution adopted by the German parliament that declares the 1915 massacres of Armenians by Ottoman Turkish forces a genocide.