Turkish FM Çavuşoğlu, Austrian counterpart Kneissl 'agree to normalize relations'

ANADOLU AGENCY
ISTANBUL
Published 25.01.2018 20:02
Updated 25.01.2018 20:13
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and his Austrian counterpart Karin Kneissl leave after a news conference in Istanbul, Turkey Jan. 25, 2018. (Reuters Photo)
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and his Austrian counterpart Karin Kneissl leave after a news conference in Istanbul, Turkey Jan. 25, 2018. (Reuters Photo)

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said Thursday that Turkey and Austria looked to normalize relations after months of tensions between Ankara and Vienna.

Speaking at a joint news conference with his Austrian counterpart Karin Kneissl, Çavuşoğlu said: "We've agreed to normalize our relations."

"It will be more beneficial to speak [to each other] directly and stop communicating through the press," he added.
The two foreign ministers speak as they walk along the Bosporus before official talks and a joint press conference in Istanbul, Thursday, Jan. 25, 2018. (AP Photo)

Kneissl said: "We know we have some disagreements between each other. This is not a secret […] but we think that there are many subjects between Vienna and Ankara that we can negotiate. This was the main reason for coming here."

Ties between the two countries soured in 2016, due to restrictions imposed by Austrian authorities on Turkish politicians who wanted to campaign in the country ahead of a key referendum in Turkey. The campaigns were to planned to reach Turkish nationals living in Austria.

Ankara had also sharply criticized the Austrian government for what it considered to be illiberal integration policies, its populistic rhetoric, and failure to take a strong stance against growing racism and Islamophobia.

Regarding Operation Olive Branch, the Austrian minister said: "I told [Cavusoglu] that we have been following the developments here [in Afrin] with concern [...]. I can say that we have agreed that all the subjects here [in Afrin] could be resolved actually through negotiation. We said that political decisions should be taken here."

On Saturday, Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch to remove PYD/PKK and Daesh terrorists from Afrin.

According to the Turkish General Staff, the operation aims to establish security and stability along Turkish borders and the region as well as to protect the Syrian people from the oppression and cruelty of terrorists.

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