Turkish, German FMs in ‘Tense But Friendly’ Meet

Turkey and Germany’s foreign ministers staged a “very tough” but “friendly” meeting in Berlin on March 8 in a bid to defuse recent tension over Turkish ministers’ visits to Germany to campaign for thane upcoming referendum, with the two sides agreeing to pursue greater normalcy.

“We are talking about all these things in order not to have our ties negatively affected. We will continue our dialogue. The relationship between our countries should be much better than any relationship,” FM Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said after meeting German FM Sigmar Gabriel.

Gabriel, for his part, described the one-and-half-hour long meeting with Çavuşoğlu as “tough” but underlined that both countries wanted relations to return to normalcy.

Ties between Ankara and Berlin soured after local German administrations canceled meetings by Turkish ministers with the Turkish community to campaign for the upcoming referendum in which a package of constitutional amendments will be voted upon.

Amid all these developments, Çavuşoğlu and Gabriel met in Berlin, with the Turkish minister announcing that they will host Germany’s foreign minister in Turkey to further discuss bilateral relations.

“[Turkey] having bad relations with Germany is to nobody’s advantage. Why would we have bad ties with Germany?” Çavuşoğlu asked, blaming Germany for pursuing a systematic smear campaign against Turkey and turning Erdoğan into a symbol of hatred.

“In Germany we see many politicians and the press as a whole and global authorities are very, very negative and very harsh and very anti-Turkey, and we even see Islamophobic sentiment. This is what we see as unacceptable … and a very dangerous trend,” he said, while also calling on the media to cease “black propaganda” against Turkey.

Çavuşoğlu informed his counterpart about upcoming meetings by Turkish government members in Germany and reiterated that attempts to cancel such events should not be repeated.