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Turkish ambassador back in Berlin after 'genocide' tension

Hüseyin Avni Karslioglu has returned to Germany as tensions ease over the Bundestag's Armenian genocide resolution. Earlier this week, Turkey lifted a ban on MPs visiting German troops stationed in the country.

The secretary of state at Germany's foreign ministry, Markus Ederer, called the return of Ambassador Huseyin Avni Karslioglu to the German capital "an important positive step" in relations between the two NATO partners, after meeting the Turkish diplomat in Berlin on Friday.

Ederer praised Karslioglu, who has been in the post since 2012, as a "knowledgeable expert of German-Turkish relations."

Karslioglu was recalled from his post in June after Germany's lower hourse of parliament voted to reclassify as genocide the mass killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks during World War I.

The Ankara government vehemently rejects the genocide designation, which more than 20 other countries have adopted. Turkey disputes both the number of Armenians killed - estimated by many to be around 1.5 million - and the argument that the nature of their deaths amounted to targeted genocide.

Vote hurt ties

The resolution's passing led to a marked deterioration in relations between Berlin and Ankara. It also followed Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's decision to press charges against a German comedian and a television executive, a response to an insulting satirical "poem" that was highly critical of the president.

Ties between the two NATO partners weakened further when Turkey demanded the extradition of followers of exiled Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen, accused by Ankara of being behind July 15's failed coup attempt. 

Two German tornado fighter jets

German MPs visited the Incirlik airbase on Wednesday

In retaliation, Turkey denied a delegation of German MPs permission to visit the Incirlik airbase in southern Turkey, where the German military is participating in the international coalition against the "Islamic State" (IS) militant group.

Berlin faced pressure

The government in Berlin later distanced itself from the Bundestag resolution, saying that it was "not legally binding." This prompted a slight thaw in ties and plans for Karslioglu's return.

German MPs finally made a visit to the military facility earlier this week, after Turkey gave its approval.

Karslioglu will only be back in Berlin for a short while though, as Turkey has already announced that former Libyan and Syrian ambassador Ali Kemal Aydin will replace him shortly.

Also on Friday, German Development Minister Gerd Müller hailed the first cabinet level meeting between the two countries since the uproar. 

Müller described his meeting with Turkish Social Affairs Minister Fatma Betul Sayan Kaya in Ankara as friendly.

Watch video 01:39

Armenia resolution: What do Turkish Germans say?

mm/msh (AFP, AP, dpa)

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