Stronger Turkey in our interest: German government

DAILY SABAH WITH AA
ISTANBUL
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The spokeswoman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Wednesday that a stronger Turkey is in the interest of Germany.

"The Federal Government is following developments in Turkey very closely. Germany has an interest in a stable, prosperous and democratic country on the Bosporus," deputy government spokeswoman Ulrike Demmer said.

Responding to questions by journalists during a regular news conference in Berlin, Demmer did not confirm or deny recent media reports that claimed Germany could provide assistance to Turkey to prevent a financial crisis.

"The federal government is closely following developments in Turkey. A stable, prosperous and democratic Turkey is in our interest," Demmer said.

Several European media outlets reported on Tuesday that Germany was examining ways to assist Turkey, and claimed that the options included coordinated European assistance, bilateral aid or project-specific loans by state-controlled development banks.

Last week, the German government spokesman said Berlin was not planning a bilateral financial assistance for the time being.

The deputy government spokeswoman refrained from making a detailed comment on whether the government had changed its position, but said she did not have an update about the matter.

Demmer also said that one should wait for the upcoming high-level talks between the German and Turkish governments.

"As you know preparations are continuing. Ahead of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's visit, the finance minister will meet with his counterpart here," Demmer said and added that she could not anticipate the discussions.

Turkey-EU relations have recently improved after some European countries voiced their support for Turkey in the face of U.S. sanctions.

In recent weeks, EU leaders, including French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, highlighted the importance of maintaining strong ties with Turkey.

On Aug. 16, Macron in a phone call with Erdoğan discussed bilateral economic relations. He highlighted the im

portance of stability in the Turkish economy.

Earlier on Aug. 15, German Chancellor Merkel also spoke with Erdoğan over the phone. She said the strength of the Turkish economy is important for Germany, according to presidential sources.

Both leaders reportedly asserted their commitment to strengthening Turkish-German cooperation with more high-level talks and visits.

President Erdoğan will pay an important visit to Germany on Sept. 28-29.

Ahead of the visit, Turkish Finance Minister Berat Albayrak is expected to meet his German counterpart Olaf Scholz in Berlin on Sept. 21.

Germany is Turkey's main economic and trade partner and more than 7,500 German companies are active in Turkey. In 2017, the bilateral trade volume reached €37.6 billion ($43.6 billion).

Meanwhile, French President Emmanuel Macron said the European Union needs to develop its strategic relationships with neighbors like Ru

ssia and Turkey to enhance stability.

"We need to update our vision for Russia. We have been caught up in mistakes and misunderstandings over the last few decades," Macron told a news conference yesterday during an official visit to Finland.

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