Turkish FM calls for ‘fresh start’ in Turkey-Germany relationship

Turkish FM calls for ‘fresh start’ in Turkey-Germany relationship

BERLIN - Reuters
Turkish FM calls for ‘fresh start’ in Turkey-Germany relationship

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu called on Jan. 5 for a “fresh start” in Turkey’s relationship with Germany, holding out the prospect of closer economic cooperation, particularly in transport and energy, if ties are improved.

In a column written for the Funke media group of newspapers for publication on Friday ahead of a meeting with his German counterpart Sigmar Gabriel, Çavuşoğlu called for an end to the “current crisis spiral in our relationship.”

“Both sides have an interest in a new start in the bilateral relationship as we live in a time full of challenges,” he wrote.

“It is not the time for bullhorn diplomacy,” said Çavuşoğlu.

The foreign minister said Germany needed to develop a more “empathetic” tone in its dealings with Turkey. Berlin did not seem to fully understand the “trauma” caused by a failed coup against President Tayyip Erdoğan in 2016.

Last month, Gabriel said Turkey’s decision to release a sixth German citizen from jail gave hope that relations between the two NATO allies could improve after plumbing new lows following the coup attempt.

Çavuşoğlu said an improved relationship could mean that the two countries could work more closely in areas including security and trade.

He said trade between Germany and Turkey amounted to 174 billion euros ($209.91 billion) in the last five years, with major opportunities in the coming decade from big infrastructure projects, particularly in transport and renewable energy.

He stressed the importance of Turkey’s role in stemming a wave of migrants to Germany under a deal with the European Union in 2016 and said he hoped the EU would live up to its commitments to make it easier for Turks to get visas in return.

Turkish FM, calls,