Turkey's Prime Minister Binali Yildirim (file photo)
Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim has called on Germany to decide between friendly ties with Ankara and the alleged plotters of the last year attempted coup in Turkey.
Yildirim made the comments on Tuesday in reaction to Berlin’s move to grant political asylum to military officials and supporters of US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, blamed by Ankara for staging the failed coup in July 2016.
"Germany must decide on one thing: if it wants to further improve its relations with Turkey..., it must turn its face to the Turkish Republic, not to (putschists)," Yildirim said addressing his ruling party's lawmakers.
Over the past year, ties between the two NATO allies have been strained due to a number of issues, including Germany's move to grant asylum to the alleged coup supporters.
Yildirim also confirmed that Berlin's positive response to asylum requests opened the way for relations to be "strained again."
In a retaliatory gesture, Ankara has refused to permit German legislators to inspect NATO’s Incirlik air base in southern Turkey.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel (file photo)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel denounced Turkey's position as "unfortunate" and said Berlin would search for alternative bases, including in Jordan.
Since Germany's military missions always require parliamentary mandates, "it is absolutely essential that our lawmakers are able to visit our soldiers,” Merkel said.
The Ankara-Berlin ties have been further strained during the process of the recent Turkish referendum aimed at boosting the powers of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as well as the incarceration of Deniz Yucel, a German-Turkish journalist for Die Welt daily, on charges of being a German "agent."

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