Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım has said that Turkey aims to restore its ties with Germany which soured after the German state's controversial stance against the Turkish government, throughout the April 16 constitutional referendum campaign. He, however, affirmed that such move, if undertaken by Turkey singlehandedly, would not succeed.
The prime minister was talking to Turkish media over the weekend in Ankara. In addition to relations with Germany, Yıldırım touched upon relations with the EU and underlined Turkey's determination to normalize relations with the 28-nation bloc. The Turkish prime minister's remarks over the weekend came ahead of the German foreign minister's visit to Ankara today.
Prime Minister Yıldırım met with Turkish media representatives at the Çankaya Palace for an iftar program, where he commented on some most recent developments.
In regards to Turkish-German relations, Yıldırım said, "We have some disagreements with Germany. One of which is Germany's unwillingness to take steps against the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) affiliates who were involved in last year's coup attempt, while responding to their asylum demands positively. They have not acted accordingly in response to FETÖ activities after the deadly putsch bid."
In addition, Yıldırım also reminded of the German state's tolerant stance towards the PKK elements in the country.
"As our president repeatedly said this stance by the German state is damaging the relations between two ally states. The German foreign minister will arrive [in Turkey] Monday and discuss these matters thoroughly with our foreign minister. Both Incirlik, as well as other matters, are on the agenda and I will also meet with him. Our eventual goal is to restore relations," he added.
Furthermore, regarding relations with Germany, Prime Minister Yıldırım affirmed Turkey's determination to normalize relations with the EU but emphasized that it could not be accomplished by Turkey alone.
"Our general principle is to increase allies and decrease our foes. In this framework, we have taken significant actions in our foreign policy and will continue to do so. We will assess Incirlik in this sense but we have two concerns on the matter and have shared it with them. The decision will be made in accordance with that," Yıldırım stated.
Yıldırım also talked about the ongoing Syrian crisis and said, "We [Turkey] have defense cooperation with Russia in Syria and Iran must be included in this. However, reaching a permanent political solution is the most important matter."
He further announced that the Raqqa operation conducted by the U.S. in cooperation with terrorist PKK-affiliate Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its armed wing the People's Protection Units (YPG) began on the night of June 2, and then reaffirmed Turkey's concerns regarding the U.S. strategy.
Meanwhile, talking about the extradition of U.S.-based terrorist FETÖ leader Fetullah Gülen the prime minister said that Turkey will continue to express its rightful request for Gülen's extradition.
"We are waiting for the U.S. judicial system to make an expedited decision on the matter," he said.