Germany hints at warming relations with Turkey

German foreign minister says Berlin intends to have ‘better negotiations’ with Ankara.

    German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel has said that Berlin intends to have “better negotiations” with Ankara in a sign which might be seen as a thawing of bilateral relations.

    “Of course, we have the intention of having better negotiations with Turkey again. This will be for the benefit of Turkey, Germany and Europe,” Gabriel told reporters at a news conference on Wednesday, following a meeting with his Polish counterpart Jacek Czaputowicz.

    His remarks came in response to a question on whether the revival of intergovernmental negotiation may be seen as the first step towards normalisation of ties between the two countries.

    Senior officials from Turkey and Germany are starting a two-day high-level meeting in Berlin to discuss security and counter-terrorism issues, and measures against the “terrorist” Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and FETO, diplomatic sources told Anadolu Agency.

    Speaking about the release of some German citizens by Turkey, he said they are being followed by reciprocal visits between the two countries.

    Last month, an Istanbul court released German citizen Mesale Tolu, pending trial.

    Tolu, who was arrested in April on charges of spreading “terrorist propaganda”, was lately working as a translator for a small Istanbul-based news agency, which Turkish authorities suspect had ties to an outlawed far-left organisation.

    Five other suspects were also released under judicial control and are forbidden to travel abroad.

    “If we really are endeavouring for good relations with Turkey, both countries should respect and approach each other at the same level,” Gabriel noted.

    Emphasising Turkey’s NATO membership, Gabriel said Germany has responsibilities towards its NATO partners in the defence industry.

    Ties between Ankara and Berlin were strained as Turkish politicians blasted their German counterparts for not taking serious measures against outlawed groups and terrorist organisations which use Germany as a platform for their fund-raising, recruitment, and propaganda activities.

    German politicians, on the other hand, criticised Ankara – especially before their general elections in September – over the arrest of around a dozen German citizens, including a reporter, a translator, and a human rights activist, on suspicion of aiding and abetting “terrorist groups”.

    The two countries took steps in recent weeks towards normalisation, and intensified talks to address their political differences on a number of issues.

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