Turkish, German foreign ministers discuss ties in surprise meeting
ANKARA – Anadolu Agency
The Turkish and German foreign ministers, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and Sigmar Gabriel, held talks on a number of bilateral issues in a surprise meeting early on Nov. 4 in Antalya, amid an ongoing chill in ties.
“I met with my German counterpart Sigmar Gabriel on an informal basis in Antalya to discuss bilateral relations; we spoke about difficult issues and mutual expectations,” Çavuşoğlu tweeted after the meeting.
Relations between the two countries have been frosty for a long time. Turkey has accused Germany of tolerating the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and its activities in its territories, and of granting asylum and protection to members of the Fethullahist Terror Organization (FETÖ), believed to have been behind Turkey’s July 2016 coup attempt.
Germany, for its part, has accused Turkey of arbitrarily detaining German nationals, including journalists and activists.
Turkey’s release of German national Peter Steudtner and seven other activists arrested over terror charges, together with the recent release of another German whose identity remains anonymous, have been seen as positive moves in terms of mending ties between the two countries.
German Foreign Ministry Spokesman Rainer Breul said on Nov. 3 that the anonymous German, although freed from custody on Oct. 22, has not been granted permission to leave Turkey. He said the person in question asked the authorities not to release further details.
Breul noted that nine other German citizens remain “in custody for political reasons in Turkey.” Those held include journalists Deniz Yücel and Meşale Tolu.