WARSAW—German Chancellor Angela Merkel met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday to discuss German-Turkish relations, which have been hampered by Ankara’s anger over a resolution passed last month by the German Bundestag recognizing the Armenian Genocide.
“We discussed all outstanding issues,” Merkel told reporters at a brief news conference according to Reuters. “The atmosphere was constructive … and very businesslike in an effort to solve the existing conflicts.”
Asked whether the issues had been resolved, she said: “The differences don’t just disappear through such a discussion. But I believe it was important that we talked them through,” signaling that the two leaders were not able to overcome their differences.
A source close to the Turkish presidency said Erdogan had expressed his disappointment over the Bundestag resolution to Merkel, who said she would do her utmost to ensure this event would not harm German-Turkish relations, according to Reuters.
Since the June 2 adoption by the Bundestag of the Armenian Genocide resolution, Turkey recalled its ambassador to Germany and has since denied German parliamentarians access to the Incirlik airbase where 250 German soldiers are taking part in NATO operations against Islamic State militants in Iraq, causing anger in Berlin, reported Reuters.
The Turkish source said Merkel had raised the issue of the Incirlik airbase and had asked Erdogan to restore access for lawmakers, who approve all military spending and investment in infrastructure at the base.
Erdogan replied that the airbase was not a place for “public shows and marketing” but Turkey would consider the request in the light of German statements on relations, the source said.
Several German lawmakers said on Sunday that the country’s soldiers working at Turkey’s Incirlik airbase should be brought home if Ankara continued to prevent parliamentarians from visiting the station.
A leader of Germany’s opposition Greens, Cem Ozdemir, who is of ethnic Turkish origin and authored the legislation adopted by the Bundestag, told ARD television the situation was unacceptable, reported Reuters.
“As lawmakers who send soldiers to places, we must know where they are, how they are and be able to talk to the soldiers. If that is not possible in Turkey then the soldiers must come back to Germany,” he was quoted by Reuters as telling the television channel.
Germany’s lawmakers approve military spending and investment in infrastructure at the base.
Asked if she would consider withdrawing troops from Incirlik if no agreement were reached, Merkel said she was focusing on resolving the matter by talking, according to Reuters.