Turkey Vows to Mend Ties with Europe
Turkey wants to mend ties with prominent European countries, like Germany and the Netherlands, and there are signs for improvement in bilateral relationships following months-long tensions, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said, informing about his potential visits to France and the Vatican, signaling improvement in Turkish foreign policy, Hurriyet reported.
“I always say this: We are obliged to lessen the number of foes and increase the number of friends. We have no problems with Germany, the Netherlands or Belgium. To the contrary, those who are in the governments of these countries are my old friends,” Erdoğan told journalists aboard a plane travelling with him from Chad to Tunisia.
“We had problems, but our latest meetings have gone very well. I asked for their support on Jerusalem; we are all on the same page. I have called [German President Frank Walter] Steinmeier to thank him. [Dutch Prime Minister Mark] Rutte sent some signals to improve ties with us. These are satisfactory. We, of course, hope to have good ties with the EU and EU countries,” Erdoğan stressed.
Turkey’s ties with Germany and the Netherlands were severely strained in early 2017 after Turkish government figures were disallowed from meeting the Turkish communities in the countries before a key referendum in April. A female Turkish minister was subject to physical intervention by the Dutch police in Rotterdam, which sparked a deep row between the two countries.
“Well, they did me wrong. Otherwise, I used to have good meetings with Rutte; Belgium in the same way. No need to mention Germany. My contacts with both Steinmeier and [German Chancellor Angela] Merkel have always been very good,” he said.