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BERLIN (Reuters) - Ankara has refused German lawmakers permission to visit soldiers serving at an air base near the Turkish town of Konya, a party defence spokesman said, marking a new escalation in tensions between the two NATO allies.

Turkey's earlier refusal to let lawmakers visit German soldiers serving at Incirlik air base led to Berlin relocating those troops to Jordan. For historical reasons, Germany's armed forces are under parliamentary control, and Berlin insists the parliamentarians must have access to its soldiers.

"The government, especially Chancellor Angela Merkel, must now take the necessary steps to ensure lawmakers can soon visit the soldiers in Konya," said Rainer Arnold, defence spokesperson for the Social Democrats, the junior coalition party in the government.

The two countries are at odds over a host of issues, including Berlin's refusal to extradite asylum seekers Ankara accuses of involvement in last year's failed coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, while Berlin is demanding the release of an imprisoned Turkish-German journalist.

(Reporting By Thomas Escritt, editing by Michelle Martin)

Reuters