Ankara, Berlin stress dialogue for mending fences

Turkey's foreign minister said on Saturday that Ankara's differences with Berlin could be overcome through dialogue.

Speaking to reporters at a joint news conference with his German counterpart Sigmar Gabriel in Lower Saxony, Mevlut Cavusoglu said: We, as two foreign ministers, believe our disagreements will be overcome through dialogue."

Acknowledging that differences remain between the two countries, he said: "We do not need to agree on Turkey's EU membership process but both sides need to overcome issues such as updating the Customs Union agreement."

Despite not being a member of the EU, Turkey has been of the Customs Union agreement since 1995. However the mutual trade agreement does not cover agriculture (except for processed agricultural products), services, or public procurement.

Ankara has been pushing the EU to include them in the updated agreement, but Turkey's tense ties with Germany have stalled the process.

Cavusoglu said there is a need to strengthen cooperation with Germany on the fight against Daesh and other terrorist groups.

"We welcome the steps that Germany took against the PKK. Putting Adil Oksuz on the wanted list is one such step. But we have more expectations from Germany."

Close cooperation

Turkey accuses Oksuz of masterminding the July 15, 2016 defeated coup attempt in Turkey.

He was arrested in Turkey on the morning of July 16, but was subsequently released and has since disappeared.

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

The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU.

"Today, we also have close cooperation [with Germany] against Daesh. We are on the same page with Germany on Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, and other issues. Both of us want stability and security in the region."

Ties between Ankara and Berlin have been strained since the defeated coup attempt, as Turkish politicians criticized their German counterparts for failing to show strong solidarity with the government against the attempted military takeover.

Ankara has also criticized Berlin for turning a blind eye to outlawed groups and terrorist organizations like FETO, the PKK, DHKP-C and MLKP, which continue to use Germany as a platform for their fund-raising, recruitment, and spreading propaganda.

'Turkey, Germany will bolster strategic dialogue'

For his part, Gabriel said that despite differences of opinion, it is their duty to overcome all the difficulties in relations between Germany and Turkey.

We have a serious will in this regard. Together with my colleague, we see it as a common duty to overcome this tension, Gabriel said.

He also said he and Cavusoglu have agreed to advise their economy ministers to reconvene a Turkish-German economic commission.

Gabriel said the Turkish and German Foreign Ministries favor bolstering strategic dialogue between the countries.

He added that despite disagreements, both top diplomats are concerned about developments in Syria and Yemen.

On PKK activities in Germany, Gabriel said that German police are taking necessary measures against the terrorist group.

Recently, we did not allow them to show their flag in Dusseldorf, he said.

Terror is terror, he added.

Turkey has long demanded a crackdown on PKK activities in Germany.

The terrorist organization has nearly 14,000 followers among Germany's Kurdish immigrant population, according to German domestic intelligence agency BfV.

Gabriel also said that he had agreed with his Turkish counterpart to attend centenary celebrations of the German School in Istanbul.

Source: Anadolu Agency