Turkish Minister of Culture and Tourism Nabi Avcı said fugitive members of the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) – the perpetrator of the July 15 coup attempt last year – have had roles in recently strained German-Turkish relations. Speaking to a group of journalists during his visit to Germany for the opening of the 51st International Tourism Stock Exchange (ITB), the world's largest tourism trade fair, Minister Avcı said the systematic defamation campaign of FETÖ members and their lobby efforts have played a role in souring German-Turkish relations. "Fugitive FETÖ members and their sleeper cells in Europe continue their slanderous and lobbying activities against Turkey. It is obvious that their efforts had a negative impact on Turkish-German relations," Minister Avcı said on March 9 in Berlin where he stressing that the German government is also aware of the FETÖ members' effect on bilateral relations. "I believe Germans have also noticed how FETÖ members have remained active without facing consequences," the minister added.
Commenting on the future of Turkish-German relations, Minister Avcı expressed that he remains optimistic: "During my constant meetings with German officials, I have noticed that the German side is also not happy about the current tensions between the two countries. They are also looking into ways to restore the soured relations, and I believe that we have come to an understanding," he said.
"Turkish-German relations were not built overnight and cannot be destroyed from these temporary problems. However, we do need to be careful about our mutual manners," Minister Avcı added. "I'm not pessimistic about the future of bilateral relations. In the ITB, we have witnessed Germany's continued interest shown towards our country, and this interest is also one of the main reasons I maintain my hope about the future of relations," he concluded.
Turkish-German relations have soured in recent weeks since Germany cancelled meetings scheduled by Turkish ministers within the Turkish communities in Germany. Within aims to ease the tension, German and Turkish foreign ministers met in Berlin on March 8, and the two sides agreed to pursue improved normalcy after the meeting.
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