Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan wants to hold a personal meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the Bild reported, citing Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.
“We need to maintain dialogue,” Cavusoglu said, as quoted by the Bild newspaper, adding that Erdogan has repeatedly held telephone conversations with Merkel and German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
According to the newspaper, Erdogan is considering two options for a meeting with Merkel — inviting the chancellor to Ankara or visiting Germany himself.
The Turkish president has recently visited another key EU player — France to meet with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron. However, despite the friendly welcome, the talk about Ankara’s EU accession bid turned sour: Macron offered Erdogan EU partnership instead of membership.
Despite that, Erdogan is holding firm to the course he set in late December 2017, aimed at improving Ankara’s relations with particular members of the 28-nation bloc and the European Union as a whole.
A similar position has been voiced by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, who said that Ankara and Berlin should view each other as equal partners, claiming that Germany did “not fully understand” the “trauma” that his country suffered during the drastic events that took place one and a half years ago.
Relations between Berlin and Ankara deteriorated following the failed coup attempt in Turkey in July 2016. Ankara has accused Berlin of providing asylum to the coup plotters, while Berlin has strongly criticized the detention of German journalists and human rights activists in Turkey. Another issue that has undermined bilateral relations was the cancellation of Erdogan’s campaign rallies in Germany ahead of a referendum that granted the Turkish president sweeping executive powers in March 2017.