Turkey, Germany seek to normalise ties

Turkey and Germany have been at odds over the banning of Turkish rallies in Germany as well as the arrest of a German-Turkish journalist in Turkey.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel (L) meets Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu at the Adlon hotel in Berlin, Germany on March 8, 2017.

The German and Turkish foreign ministers on Wednesday said they agreed that they want bilateral relations to return to normal after week-long tensions.

Germany's Sigmar Gabriel met his counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu to discuss a growing row between the two countries over Turkish referendum rallies that have been called-off by local German authorities.

Referring back to the discussions, Cavusoglu made it clear that the two countries need one another and should decide on the type of relationship both countries want going forward.

During a gathering at the residence of Turkey's Consul General in Hamburg on Tuesday, Cavusoglu accused Germany of applying systematic pressure on Turkish citizens.

Cavusoglu was referring to a German ban on Turks in the country holding rallies in support of Turkey’s upcoming constitutional reform referendum, which is scheduled for April 16.

"Whatever differences and arguments we have, there is no alternative to talks because [only] then is there a possibility of returning, step-by step, to normalised and friendly relations between Germany and Turkey," Gabriel said.

TRT World correspondent Francis Collings who is in Berlin says, "the message is coming loud and strong from Ankara that Turkey are annoyed and irritated that they are not allowed to speak to the 1.5 million Turkish people in Germany who can vote in the referendum next month."

Red line

Ties between the two NATO allies were further strained when Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the banning of Turkish rallies in Germany resemble the policies of the Nazi regime.

While saying both Turkey and Germany want to enjoy good bilateral relations, Gabriel added that there were limits "that may not be overstepped and that includes comparisons with Nazi Germany."

Gabriel said such comparisons were a "red line that cannot be crossed."

"Friend or not"

Relations between Ankara and Berlin have also been tense over the arrest of German-Turkish journalist Deniz Yucel in Turkey last week.

Yucel faces trial on charges of propaganda and incitement to hatred due to alleged links to the PKK, an armed group which is considered a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the US and the EU.

He also faces allegations of hacking the private emails of Turkey’s Energy Minister Berat Albayrak.

Gabriel said that Turkish authorities had agreed to give Germany consular access to Yucel as well as other German citizens detained in Turkey.

Despite the differences on both sides, "there is no alternative to dialogue because that is the only way we can return step by step to a normal and friendly relationship," he said.

After the meeting, Cavusoglu said that "Germany must decide if Turkey is a friend or not."

"There is no benefit to having bad relations with Germany," the Turkish foreign minister added.

Source: 
TRTWorld and agencies