Turkish premier cancels meeting with German minister

Turkish Prime Ministry blames busy schedule

A scheduled meeting between Prime Minister Binali Yildirim and German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel was cancelled Monday, according to the Turkish Prime Ministry.

The cancellation came amid worsening ties between Berlin and Ankara over a row about granting access to German lawmakers who want to visit troops stationed at a NATO air base in Incirlik, southern Turkey.

Monday’s meeting was cancelled due to Yildirim’s busy schedule, the ministry said. The two had been scheduled to meet at 12.30 p.m. local time (0930GMT) in Ankara.

A meeting between Gabriel and Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu went ahead as planned.

Turkey blocked visits by German lawmakers to troops stationed at Incirlik primarily over the composition of some delegations which included MPs openly supportive of the terrorist PKK group.

Ankara has also been unhappy about a number of suspects linked to last year’s coup attempt who have claimed asylum in Germany as well as assaults on Turks in Germany by pro-PKK elements, amid claims the German authorities were not taking the issue seriously.

Since 2015, Germany has stationed six Tornado surveillance jets and a tanker aircraft at Incirlik, along with around 260 personnel, providing intelligence and logistics support for anti-Daesh operations.

Gabriel said Sunday that Germany would have to end its mission in Incirlik if no solution was found to the problem of lawmakers visiting the base.

The troops could be moved to another facility in Jordan, according to reports.