Gabriel, Çavuşoğlu ‘talk difficult issues’ in Antalya

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Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu meets German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel in Ankara, Turkey on November 4, 2017. Cem Ozdel / Anadolu Agency

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu on Saturday met with his German counterpart, Sigmar Gabriel, in Antalya as both sides send signals of a desire to normalize strained relations.

“FM @sigmargabriel and FM @MevlutCavusoglu: We met in Antalya informally today to discuss bilateral relations including the difficult issues and expectations from both sides,” the German Foreign Office‏ announced on Twitter.

“We have talked difficult issues between our countries and expressed our expectations    ” Çavuşoğlu tweeted.

Berlin’s relations with Ankara have been strained by Turkey’s crackdown on government critics after a failed coup last year. Germany and its partners in the European Union say the crackdown undermines democracy.

Turkey and Germany are also at odds over Berlin’s refusal to extradite asylum seekers Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his government accuse of involvement in the botched coup.

Erdoğan has long accused Germany of harboring terrorists, while the pro-Erdoğan media claim that Germany is working systematically to undermine Turkey’s advancement.

Germany has been angered by Turkey’s arrest of around a dozen German citizens, including German-Turkish journalist Deniz Yücel.

Minister Gabriel in July said Germany is being forced to reorient its Turkey policy in the wake of the arrest of human rights activists and journalists in the country.

In September Gabriel said Germany had halted major arms sales to Turkey due to the worsening human rights situation in the country and the strained relations between the two NATO allies.

Germany had to withdraw his forces from Incirlik Air Base after Ankara banned a German parliamentary group to visit the German troops stationed at the base.

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