Turkey returns envoy to Berlin with improvement in diplomatic relations

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Turkey's Ambassador to Germany Hüseyin Avni Karlıoğlu

Turkey returned its ambassador to Germany, Hüseyin Avni Karslıoğlu, to Berlin on Friday after a four-month absence from the embassy, a move that signals a rapid improvement in ties that became strained over a vote by the German parliament on the Armenian “genocide.”

Karslıoğlu flew to Berlin on Friday. His return followed visit by a group of German lawmakers to İncirlik Air Base in Adana to meet with German air force personnel stationed there.

Turkey barred German lawmakers from the visit for months following a dispute with Berlin over a vote in the German parliament to recognize the mass killings of Ottoman Armenians during World War I as a “genocide.”

The decision angered Ankara, which steadfastly rejects the term and insists that Ottoman Armenians died in inter-communal strife during the last days of the empire, denying any systematic killing by troops. While it accepts the mass killing of Armenians on some occasions, Ankara firmly rejects characterizing it as a “genocide.”

After months of a diplomatic rift, Ankara finally gave permission for German MPs to visit to the air base, which hosts several German fighter jets and a number of personnel.

Berlin threatened to withdraw its personnel and deploy its forces at another base in the region. The German air force contributes to the US-led international coalition against the terrorist Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Syria.

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