Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu says he is ready to work towards normalization of his country’s strained ties with Germany.
In a Saturday interview with Der Spiegel weekly, Cavusoglu offered a strikingly conciliatory response to the question about whether there would be any normalization in Ankara-Berlin relations.
“Yes. And I am ready to make an effort towards that,” he responded.
“If you take one step towards us, we will take two towards you,” Cavusoglu added, noting that there was no reason for problems between the two countries.
Pointing to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s recent comparison of Germany with the Nazi era, Cavusoglu said the analogy was a kind of “response to the hostility” from Germany, stressing that Berlin had to learn to respect Ankara.
The remarks came as German Chancellor Angela Merkel is expected to appoint Cem Ozdemir – a prominent politician with Turkish parents and a staunch opponent of Erdogan—as the next foreign minister in her new cabinet.
“Whoever comes to Turkey as foreign minister will meet the same respect as he shows us,” Cavusoglu said.
Meanwhile, German Deputy Foreign Minister Michael Roth told Welt am Sonntag weekly that Germany was prepared to hold talks with Turkey and expressed hope “that we can soon move closer together again.”
Roth, however, noted that Berlin would not remain silent about detention of German citizens in Turkey, saying, “We must find solutions to this.”
Ties between Turkey and Germany have been strained over a host of issues since the 2016 failed coup against the government in Ankara. Berlin has been critical of Ankara’s post-coup crackdown and the arrest of German citizens, while Turkey accuses the European country of harboring “terrorist” organizations, which are against the Turkish president.
The two countries have also clashed over Germany’s alleged support for Kurdish opponents of the Turkish government and its opposition to a controversial referendum in Turkey in April, which gave Erdogan new sweeping powers. German authorities at the time prevented some pro-Erdogan campaigns in the country, a move that infuriated the Turkish president.
Germany has vowed to restrict business with Turkey and take actions to end or suspend Turkey’s EU-accession talks.