Turkey and Germany are working in good faith to improve bilateral relations, Ankara’s deputy foreign minister said on Monday.
“Relations between Turkey and Germany have been normalized, we can safely say this. But normalization is not enough for us. We should further improve our ties,” Faruk Kaymakci told reporters at the end of a two-day visit to Berlin.
Kaymakci said officials were planning high-level visits, including a possible visit by Chancellor Angela Merkel to Turkey in the near future.
Relations between Ankara and Berlin suffered several setbacks between 2016 and 2017 because of political disagreements, but both sides have taken recent steps toward improving ties.
Kaymak said the two countries would focus on common interests and work on concrete proposals to enhance cooperation in various fields, including economy and trade.
He said migration and a EU-Turkey refugee agreement are among key areas where the two countries have close cooperation.
“Turkey has so far spent $40 billion for Syrian refugees. Although the EU has pledged €6 billion ($6.6 billion) for Syrian refugees in Turkey, so far it spent only €2.1 billion,” he said.
“We expect from the EU to increase its contribution, and speed up procedures for funding,” he added.
In 2016, Merkel championed the EU-Turkey refugee agreement, with the hope of stopping the refugee influx after nearly 1 million refugees arrived in Germany.
The agreement has been successful in significantly reducing the number of refuges crossings the Aegean Sea and preventing the loss of many lives.
But Ankara criticized its European partners for not fully implementing the 2016 agreement.
Turkey currently hosts nearly 4 million Syrian refugees, more than any other country in the world.
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