German, Turkish top diplomats vow to heal ties

2018-01-06 22:10
Turkish foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and his German counterpart Sigmar Gabriel take a walk through the old town of Goslar in Germany. (Swen Pfoertner, dpa via AP)

Turkish foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and his German counterpart Sigmar Gabriel take a walk through the old town of Goslar in Germany. (Swen Pfoertner, dpa via AP)

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Goslar - German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel and his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu on Saturday vowed to try to mend ties blighted by a slew of disputes.

Relations between the Nato partners have been badly strained in recent years, especially since the failed coup in Turkey and a subsequent crackdown that saw tens of thousands of people arrested, including several German or dual citizens.

"We have both given ourselves the task to do everything to overcome the difficulties in German-Turkish relations," said Gabriel, who hosted Cavusoglu at his home in Goslar.

He said they had "open talks held in mutual respect" although they "certainly did not share the same view on all matters".

Cavusoglu however warned against Turkey being lectured or threatened, saying: "These are not good methods, according to us".

He also called for deeper economic ties based on "dialogue, mutual understanding and cooperation".

Military base

Their talks followed a meeting in Paris on Friday between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and French counterpart Emmanuel Macron, who warned that there was no chance of Ankara's EU stalled membership bid moving forward.

Germany, home to a three-million-strong ethnic Turkish community, last year advised investors and holiday-makers to avoid Turkey and urged a cut in EU funding linked to Ankara's membership talks.

The crisis has been fuelled by other disputes: over a German TV comic harshly lampooning Erdogan; a 2016 German parliamentary resolution on the Armenian genocide and Turkey denying military base visits to German MPs.

Ankara has accused Berlin of failing to pursue followers of US-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen, whom it blames for the 2016 coup attempt and of failing to crack down on Kurdish militants.

When Germany last year repeatedly denied Turkish politicians' requests to campaign for votes among the Turkish-German community, Ankara accused the government of using "Nazi" methods.

Ankara has in recent weeks sent a flurry of signals that it wants a return to warmer relations with the EU and Germany, at a time of tensions with the United States, Israel and some Gulf states.

Erdogan had declared last month that Turkey "must reduce the number of enemies and increase the number of friends".

Read more on:    germany  |  turkey

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