Germany, Turkey Take Steps Toward Friendlier Ties!

The German and Turkish foreign ministers took steps Saturday toward restoring friendlier relations after more than a year of tension between their countries, but they made clear that significant differences remain.

Turkish-European ties worsened last year amid mass arrests and firings by authorities following a July 2016 coup attempt.

A particular irritant in relations between Ankara and Berlin has been Turkey’s jailing of several German or German-Turkish nationals, including journalist Deniz Yucel, over terror-related allegations. Seven are currently being held for what Berlin considers political reasons.

Gabriel said there has been some progress lately, pointing to the release of some other Germans.

He said the two ministers agreed to recommend that a joint German-Turkish economic commission that hasn’t met recently reconvene. They also want to revive a “strategic dialogue” between their ministries.

“We can’t expect to agree on every question straight away. There are differences of opinion, but we are well-advised to continue our discussion openly and with mutual respect,” Gabriel told reporters, noting that Germany and Turkey are both NATO members.

Çavusoglu stressed the importance of “sincere cooperation” and acknowledged differences over Turkey’s stalled bid to join the European Union.

Despite those differences, he said, “We need to overcome issues such as the renewal of the customs union agreement that is of benefit to both sides.”

 

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