Former German Ambassador to Ankara Wolf-Ruthart Born said that a new chapter has opened in Germany-Turkey relations following a meeting of the foreign ministers of both countries last weekend in Antalya.
Speaking to Deutsche Welle Turkish, Born, who currently works as an adviser for the Investment Support and Promotion Agency of Turkey (ISPAT) after his tenure in Ankara from 2003 to 2006, contended that both sides are looking to leave tensions behind and form a normal relationship.
"German Foreign Minister [Sigmar] Gabriel's visit to Antalya and his meeting with Foreign Minister [Mevlüt] Çavuşoğlu is a good signal. The ministers' meeting took place after the release of some detained German citizens. I see this meeting as a step towards the normalization of the relationship between the two countries," Born said.
"Both sides should leave the harsh rhetoric and grasp a calm one and have a supportive attitude towards this new chapter in relations," he added.
The two foreign ministers held a breakfast meeting in southern Antalya province on Saturday, in a sign of thawing ties. Foreign Minister Çavuşoğlu and his German counterpart Gabriel discussed bilateral relations, problematic issues between the two countries and both their expectations.
The former German Ambassador Born said further steps to normalize relations must wait until the government in Germany is formed.
"Turkish-German relations are based on a very strong foundation. It is not a trust issue between them. It is the misunderstanding between them and taking decisions that would make each other angry. We should not overlook this: There has been a coup attempt in Turkey. I wonder what we would do if we had the same experience," he said.
"Besides, there is also the PKK terrorist organization that uses violence for autonomy and independence, and kills people. We were furious when there was the Red Army Faction (RAF) in Germany," Born added, while underlining that both countries should understand each other.
Ties between Ankara and Berlin have been strained since the defeated coup in Turkey last year as Turkish politicians criticized their German counterparts for failing to show strong solidarity with Ankara against the attempted military takeover. Ankara has also criticized Berlin for ignoring outlawed groups and terrorist organizations, like the PKK and the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) which continue to operate in Germany. FETÖ and its U.S.-based leader, Fetullah Gülen, orchestrated the failed coup of July 15, 2016.
Despite disagreements, both sides have expressed interest in dialogue to improve relations between the two countries.
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