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Turkish-German ties returning to normal, says ruling party spokesman

Europe
23.11.2017
By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Istanbul (dpa) - Turkish-German relations are improving and "starting to normalize," a spokesman for Turkey‘s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) told reporters in Istanbul on Thursday.

"We do not want any problems with Germany," Mahir Unal said. Relations between the two countries have been tense for well over a year, amid numerous disagreements. The remarks come as parties in Berlin struggle to form a coalition after recent elections.

Unal also stressed that a plan by Turkey, a NATO member, to purchase the S-400 air defence system from Russia is about the country‘s security needs.

"Countries have to be independent when it comes to their own defence industry," Unal said. "Our agreement related to S-400 isn‘t an agreement taken against NATO at all."

On Syria, Unal said that Ankara has drawn two red lines. One is that Turkey will not sit in any forum with the main Syrian Kurdish militia, the YPG. The second condition is that the neighbouring country‘s territorial integrity is ensured.

Unal was speaking a day after a trilateral summit in Sochi, Russia. Russian President Vladimir Putin, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Iranian leader Hassan Rowhani all agreed to continue efforts to reduce violence.

Russia is now set to organize a summit of all players in Syrian politics. However, it remains to be seen how it will honour Turkey‘s request to exclude the YPG and associated groups. Turkey has dubbed them terrorists due to links with Turkish-Kurdish insurgents. Also excluded will be al-Qaeda and others on the UN terrorist list.

Turkey has long been warning it could attack Afrin, an isolated Kurdish-held territory in western Syria.

 

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