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Top German, Turkish diplomats to meet in Lower Saxony

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Top German, Turkish diplomats to meet in Lower Saxony
Mevlut Cavusoglu (left) and Sigmar Gabriel. Photo: DPA.
16:13 CET+01:00
The foreign ministers of Germany and Turkey will meet this weekend as Ankara seeks to douse tensions with the EU that blighted 2017, Turkish officials said on Wednesday.

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel will host Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu in his home town of Goslar in Lower Saxony on Saturday, the officials said.

The visit will represent the German leg of talks between the two men who met in November in Cavusoglu's home region of Antalya in southern Turkey.

Cavusoglu said he would meet Gabriel on January 6th at a briefing with Turkish reporters in Ankara quoted by state media.

A foreign ministry official, contacted by AFP, confirmed the meeting would be in Goslar. The German foreign ministry said a meeting was planned there without giving a date.

Relations between Turkey and Germany hit a nadir last year as Berlin strongly criticized the crackdown after the failed coup that left over 55,000 arrested and Ankara accused Berlin of meddling.

Tensions with other EU members, including Austria and the Netherlands, meanwhile appeared to bring Turkey's bid to join the European Union to a shuddering halt.

But Ankara has issued a flurry of signals in recent days it wants warmer relations with the European Union and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is heading to France on Friday for talks with President Emmanuel Macron.

The better tone has been helped by the shared opposition of both Turkey and key EU states, including France and Germany, to President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Berlin was particularly incensed by the holding of several German nationals in a crackdown after the coup bid, although tensions eased slightly following several releases in recent months.

Most recently, German pilgrim David Britsch and German journalist Mesale Tolu were set free by Turkey in developments welcomed by Berlin.

However, the correspondent of the Die Welt daily newspaper, Deniz Yucel, a German-Turkish dual national arrested in February, remains behind bars and not even a date for his trial has been set.

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