Berlin, January 18: 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.
Germany and Turkey on Wednesday resumed bilateral government consultations that had been suspended after Ankara’s arrest of German-Turkish journalist Deniz Yucel in February 2017, an issue that continues to divide the two NATO allies.
State secretaries from both countries met at the German Interior Ministry for discussions about counterterrorism and other issues, ministry spokesman Johannes Dimroth said during a regular government briefing.
He said common interests on fighting terrorism meant this was a good time to resume talks, but both sides remained at odds over issues such as the continued detention of Yucel.
German Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Adebahr added that German-Turkish relations still faced “significant challenges,” but Berlin was ready to continue working to “improve relations bit by bit”.
Germany, home to some 3 million people with a Turkish background, remains critical of Turkey’s post-coup arrests of some 50,000 people, and the suspension or firing of 150,000 others, including teachers, judges and soldiers.