Germany seeks to calm row with Turkey, but Ankara cool

NATO allies Ankara and Berlin have been locked in a new dispute over the past week after several local authorities in Germany blocked rallies by Turkish ministers.

Germany seeks to calm row with Turkey, but Ankara cool

World Bulletin / News Desk

Germany on Wednesday sought to end a bad-tempered row with Turkey, stressing their long-standing friendship -- but the appeal drew only a cool response from Ankara.

The row is the latest in a long list of problems that have plagued relations and comes just after Ankara's arrest of a journalist with the German daily Die Welt that sparked consternation in Berlin.

On Sunday, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan raised the stakes when he told a rally in Istanbul that the blocking of public appearances by his ministers was "not different from the Nazi practices of the past".

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, after hosting his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu for talks, said he had "made clear that comparisons between the Nazi era and the cancellation of rallies or the rule of law in Germany are unacceptable". 

But he said that despite Berlin and Ankara's deep differences on a host of issues, "there is no alternative to dialogue because that is the only way we can return, step-by-step, to a normal and friendly relationship".

Cavusoglu acknowledged that poor relations were in neither side's interests, and promised to host Gabriel for a new round of talks in Turkey "as soon as possible".

But at the same time, he told Germany to decide "if Turkey is a friend or not".

Back in Ankara, Erdogan was equally cool. "Whatever closed hall, stadium we go to, we will always fill it," he told public television channel TRT.

"They know this, because they know it they are trying to find ways to stop it. In Europe or around the world, no one can cut our emotional links with our citizens."

Güncelleme Tarihi: 09 Mart 2017, 10:37