Turkey expects ties to improve with Germany in 2018

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has said he expects relations with Germany to improve in 2018.

In an interview with German news agency DPA published on Monday, Cavusoglu said: "The first three quarters of 2017 were not very good, but we made some progress since then.

"I think both sides are ready to normalize the relations. So, I am expecting a much better year 2018."

He said there was no problem from the Turkish side.

"From our side, we do not see any crisis. Turkey has no problem with Germany. But Germany has a problem with Turkey and Germany does not miss an opportunity to attack Turkey. "

He pointed the very dangerous trend of bashing Turkey and Erdogan in Germany, which is not very helpful. "I do not think the president cares about it. But it's affecting the bilateral relations. It's fueling hatred on both sides," he said.

"Why should I have a problem with Germany? I am still expecting a sincere answer to my question: Why does Germany have a problem with Turkey, " he asked, adding: "I have not gotten an answer yet."

About Turkey's travel warning for Germany, Cavusoglu said: "You cannot punish Turkey through travel bans. I had to reciprocate this travel ban. I do not know what to expect.

"Germany should understand this: If Germany moves one step towards us, Turkey moves two steps towards Germany. Not because we are afraid of Germany. This is not a weakness, this is coming from the heart.

End FETO, PKK support

But if Germany threatens Turkey, Turkey will be firing back."

In March, Turkish ministers were barred from holding public rallies in two German cities ahead of the April 16 referendum in Turkey.

In September, Turkey also warned its citizens visiting or living in Germany that they should "be careful" against "racist slurs" ahead of the country's upcoming federal elections.

About the German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel's controversial remarks about Turkey allegedly keeping "hostages", he said: "We told the German government that that's not true. Why should we put these people in prison? To get something from Germany? No.

"That was wrong, populist terminology on the eve of an election. I am sure he will be made a mistake, he added.

Cavusoglu also voiced Turkey's expectations from Germany concerning the terrorist organizations, Fetullah Terror Organization (FETO) and PKK.

"Germany should not be a safe haven for supporters of FETO and PKK supporters," he said.

"We need to respect each other. And we expect from Germany to see Turkey as an equal partner.

"One side is not the first class and the other side is the second class."

Democracy important for Turks

FETO and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup which martyred 250 people and wounded nearly 2,200.

The PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU -- resumed its campaign against Turkey in July 2015.

Since then, it has been responsible for the deaths of more than 1,200 Turkish security personnel and civilians, including a number of women and children.

About Turkey's European Union membership, he said: "If the EU decides not to accept Turkey, that's up to the EU. But I see that many countries are still in favor of Turkey's EU membership.

He also responded to criticism of Turkey's democracy.

"Democracy is so important for the Turkish people. In the last 15 years, we made tremendous achievements and progress. Are we 100 percent OK? No.

The failed coup and our fight against this FETO organization has damaged the image of Turkey," he said.

"You cannot call Turkey a dictatorship because of the state of emergency. Turkey holds a democratic and fair elections, better than many other European countries.

Stating that Turkey had been passing through the most difficult years of the republic, he said: We had to take some measures to eliminate this threat. When things are normal, we will get rid of the state of emergency. Of course we will go back to reforms.

Source: Anadolu Agency