Germany's Steinmeier sees Turkey decision on air base as signal for dialogue

September 9, 2016 10:49 AM EDT

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BERLIN (Reuters) - German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier on Friday said he viewed Ankara's decision to allow German lawmakers to visit a Turkish air base as "political signal" of its willingness to resume dialogue with Berlin after significant strains.

Steinmeier underscored that Turkey remained an important partner for Germany and the European Union in tackling the migrant crisis, but said Turkey also had a central role in helping to resolve various crises in the Middle East.

Turkey on Thursday agreed to let a small group of German lawmakers visit 250 German soldiers at Incirlik Air Base near the Syrian border on Oct. 4. It had banned the visit in response to a parliamentary resolution declaring the 1915 massacre of Armenians by Ottoman forces a "genocide."

Steinmeier said he hoped that the phase of "talking past each other" would now be replaced by more direct dialogue between Ankara and Berlin and the rest of the EU.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; editing by Erik Kirschbaum)

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