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Erdoğan and Merkel discuss improving ties amid economic crisis

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Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan and German Chancellor Angela Merkel discussed bilateral ties and the situation in Syria during a phone call on Wednesday, Reuters reported, citing a presidential source, at a time when Turkey is experiencing an economic crisis.

Erdoğan and Merkel pledged determination to strengthen bilateral ties and discussed their planned meeting in Berlin at the end of September, the source also said.

Merkel said on Monday that Germany wanted to see economic prosperity in Turkey and that Ankara should ensure the independence of its central bank.

“No one has an interest in an economic destabilization in Turkey. But everything must be done to ensure an independent central bank,” Merkel said during a news conference in Berlin when asked about the economic situation in Turkey.

“Germany would like to see an economically prosperous Turkey. This is in our interest,” Merkel added.

The Turkish currency has lost more than 40 percent of its value against the US dollar this year, largely over worries about Erdoğan’s influence over the economy, his repeated calls for lower interest rates and worsening ties with the United States.

Germany’s economy minister also had criticized US President Donald Trump’s decision to impose additional tariffs on Turkey, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported on Sunday, citing the German media.

“This trade war slows down and destroys economic growth and produces new uncertainties,” Peter Altmaier said, according to Germany’s Bild am Sonntag newspaper.

“The past has shown that consumers are particularly affected by trade wars as products become more expensive,” Altmaier said.

German Minister of Foreign Affairs Heiko Maas had said Turkey should release American pastor Andrew Brunson, who is currently under house arrest, and German citizens who are under arrest in Turkey on political charges in order to fix the economy, Deutsche Welle (DW) reported.

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