Turkish FM Hopes Normalization of Ties With Germany

Turkey’s overtures for normalization of ties with Germany are continuing with senior-level remarks expressing hope for overcoming the points of contention.

Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has said his government is urging the judiciary to expedite the trial process of Turkish-German journalist Deniz Yucel, a contentious issue that has created fissures in relations between two NATO allies.

In a display of will for an improvement in strained relations, Mr. Cavusoglu stated that Turkey wants to see the normalization of ties, and called on German tourists to travel to Turkey. In an interview with German DPA news agency, the Turkish foreign minister took on a wide array of issues concerning bilateral relations.

“I’m also not very happy that the indictment is still not there. But we can only encourage the judiciary to speed up the process. We have done already,” Mr. Cavusoglu said in remarks to the German agency about the situation of the journalist who was working with Die Welt.

The minister said Mr. Yucel lacked official press accreditation issued by the Turkish government while working in Turkey.

Still, he appeared to be cautious about dismissing the case as politically motivated. According to the Turkish foreign minister, the charges against Deniz Yucel are very serious.

Yet, he opened the door for an immediate change regarding Mr. Yucel’s pre-trial detention and said he would expect the independent Turkish judiciary to comply if European Court of Human Rights rules for the release of the German journalist.

Turkey’s relations with Germany went through the trial of thorny issues afflicting mutual trust and diplomatic comity. Berlin was an outspoken critic of Ankara after a wide-ranging clampdown on dissent and government opponents since the failed putsch in 2016 summer.

The Turkish government recoiled at the idea of what is said constant ostracization from its Western allies. But Ankara’s depiction of even moderate criticism over human rights violations as synonymous with plotting against Turkey has not won friends, but new critics.

Last week, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan offered an olive branch to Germany, expressing for normalization in relations. Turkey’s sudden interest to open a new chapter with the E.U. and Germany reflects the need for less drama in relations with its major trade partners amid looming signs of troubles in the economy in the new year.

“I think both sides are ready to normalize the relations,” Mr. Cavusoglu said, renewing his hope for better year in 2018.

Still, Ankara’s expression of new turn was not lost on Berlin. German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel praised recent releases of German nationals, including a journalist, from prison,  as positive signal and a glimmer of hope for restoring the relations back to its normal level.

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