Western countries should keep communication channels with Turkey open despite current differences, Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel said Tuesday, stressing Ankara's strategic importance for the Western world.
"Turkey has great ambitions and it's true that we have witnessed many disappointments in our relations. But still, we must find pragmatic agreements, even when our attitudes diverge on major questions," Merkel told a panel in Israel, Berlin-based daily Judische Allgemeine reported.
During a question and answer session at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv, Merkel underlined that Turkey and its Western partners "must keep talking to each other" despite their political differences.
"You cannot ignore Turkey. It is a member of NATO, and it also plays a central role for the European Union in the fight against illegal migration," she stressed.
The German chancellor also said one cannot choose his or her interlocutors in international politics when dealing with major regional and global problems.
"Foreign policy is a mixture of values and interests. Finding the right balance here is the big issue," she said.
Merkel is scheduled to visit Turkey on Saturday for talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Merkel, who has been ruling Germany since 2005, has advanced her relations with Turkey on rational foundations.
Despite existing disagreements, the European Union and Germany should be in cooperation with Turkey, German Chancellor Angela Merkel most recently said in June ahead of an EU summit. Merkel said that she expects EU leaders will accept Turkey's demands, adding that the migrant issue can only be resolved with the joint efforts of different parties.
Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu also stated that although there are differences of opinion between Turkey and Germany on some issues, in general, Germany is a more prudent and honest mediator on various issues.
After 16 years in power, Merkel is preparing to leave active politics later this year, but she will remain in her post until a new coalition government is formed. Her Christian Democrats (CDU/CSU) narrowly lost the general elections late last month.