In Informal Meeting, Turkish, German FMs Discuss Defusing Tension

In an informal meeting in southern Turkish province of Antalya on Saturday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu met with his German counterpart Sigmar Gabriel to discuss ways to resolve points of contention that long bedeviled bilateral ties between two NATO allies.

The high profile meeting is the first of its kind since German elections on Sept. 24, reflects the understanding for urgent need to defuse tension that sporadically strains relations.

“I met my colleague @sigmargabriel in Antalya informally to discuss bilateral relations; including the difficult issues and mutual expectations,” the Turkish foreign minister wrote on his Twitter account.

German Foreign Ministry also reflected on the meeting, saying that a number of topics were discussed during the meeting.

Last week, German human rights activist Peter Steudtner and another German citizen, who was not identified, was released from prison. The arrest of German nationals constituted the core of the diplomatic row that came into full view this summer.

Germany has been particularly incensed by Turkey’s expansion of crackdown against foreign nationals, including German ones, as part of a campaign to stifle civil society and rights organizations.

Despite the release of the two, there are still at least nine German nationals in prison pending trial. Among them, Deniz Yucel, a journalist with Deutsche Welle, faces espionage and terrorism-related charges. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed not to release him as long as he is the president.

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