Mevlut Cavusoglu and Sigmar Gabriel meet in Germany to restore friendlier relations after more than a year of tension between the two countries. But ministers made it clear that differences remain.

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel and his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu attend a news conference in Goslar, Germany, January 6, 2018.
German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel and his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu attend a news conference in Goslar, Germany, January 6, 2018. (Reuters)

Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu met his German counterpart Sigmar Gabriel in his hometown Goslar on Saturday amid a wider effort by the Turkish leadership to improve the country's strained relationship with Europe.

The foreign ministers said they were keen to make amends after a fall out after Ankara rounded up supporters of a failed 2016 coup, and a German-Turkish journalist was detained.

Historic ties

Gabriel pointed to historic links between the countries including the role Turkish guest workers played in rebuilding Germany after World War II, Turkey's hospitality in taking in German refugees during the Nazi era and the three million-strong Turkish community in his country. 

"We've both made it our business to do everything we can to overcome the difficulties in German-Turkish relations and to find more common ground in the future by remembering everything that binds us together," Gabriel said.

Cavusoglu said they both believed they could tackle recent escalations in tension through dialogue.

Turkey's EU membership

Cavusoglu said one bone of contention was whether Turkey should be allowed to join the European Union – a move that Germany opposes – but he sounded a conciliatory note.

"There is benefit in pushing our disagreements aside and continuing on our path. We should focus on issues that serve as win-win for our countries, like the Customs Union," he said.

One of the disputes between Berlin and Ankara centres around the arrest of Deniz Yucel, a correspondent for German newspaper Die Welt. Turkish authorities accuse him of spreading propaganda for the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). He denies the charge.

Gabriel said he had discussed thorny issues including Yucel's case with Cavusoglu but did not give details.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies