Germany responds 'cautiously' to Erdogan's rapprochement announcement

Germany responds 'cautiously' to Erdogan's rapprochement announcement
2 min read
29 December, 2017
German government spokesperson said 'resolving the remaining detention cases has an important role in improving bilateral relations' with Turkey.
Georg Streiter responded cautiously to Erdogan's calls for mending ties [Getty]
The German government has responded dubiously to signals by Turkey's president that he wants better relations, stressing its interest in several Germans jailed for what Berlin considers political reasons.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in comments published that Ankara has "no problems with Germany, or with the Netherlands or Belgium," following strains with those countries.

An irritant in German-Turkish relations has been Turkey's jailing of several German or German-Turkish nationals, including a prominent journalist, on terror-related charges.

German government spokesman Georg Streiter responded to Erdogan with caution on Friday. 

"The German government has taken note of these comments by President Erdogan. The German government is of the opinion that resolving the remaining detention cases has an important role in improving bilateral relations."

Streiter welcomed news of a German national's release, without giving details.

Erdogan on Thursday signalled he wants to mend fences with the governments of several European nations he's quarrelled with this year, saying Turkey must "decrease the number of enemies and increase friends."

In comments published in Turkey's Hurriyet newspaper, Erdogan described the leaders of Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium as "old friends," called recent contacts with them "quite good." He noted that they, like Turkey, oppose a controversial US decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

"We have no problems with Germany, or with the Netherlands or Belgium," Erdogan told journalists on his return from a trip to Africa. "On the contrary, those in power there are my old friends. They have wronged me, but that's another matter,” he added.