Germany, Turkey top diplomats hold talks amid tensions

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, above, hosted German counterpart Sigmar Gabriel for the informal talks in Antalya, both sides said in statements on Twitter. (Reuters)
Updated 04 November 2017
0

Germany, Turkey top diplomats hold talks amid tensions

ISTANBUL: The top diplomats of Germany and Turkey on Saturday met for previously unannounced talks in a southern Turkish resort, as a range of bitter rows strain ties between the two NATO allies.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu hosted German counterpart Sigmar Gabriel for the informal talks in Antalya, both sides said in statements on Twitter.
Berlin has been outraged by the detention of German nationals under Turkey’s state of emergency imposed after last year’s failed coup, while Ankara has accused Germany of meddling in its affairs.
The meeting is the first between the two diplomats since tensions reached a new peak in the run-up to the German elections on September 24.
“I met my colleague @sigmargabriel in Antalya informally to discuss bilateral relations; including the difficult issues and mutual expectations,” Cavusoglu wrote on Twitter.
The German foreign ministry issued a similar statement.
Pictures showed the two men, dressed in jackets without ties, chatting informally under blue skies in Antalya, Cavusoglu’s home region.
The meeting comes just over a week after German activist Peter Steudtner was released following his arrest along with members of Amnesty International in July on disputed terror charges.
Another German citizen, who was not identified, was also released in a separate case but cannot leave the country, the German foreign ministry said Friday.
But nine Germans still remain behind bars in Turkey including most prominently Die Welt daily correspondent Deniz Yucel, who was arrested in February, and German journalist Mesale Tolu.
Gabriel had last month thanked former German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, who retains warm personal ties with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, for helping broker the releases.
But Ankara denied any such deal.
The tensions have risen into one of the worst ever crises between Turkey and Germany, which is home to a large Turkish minority. Berlin has repeatedly expressed skepticism about the future of Turkey’s EU membership bid.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has urged a cut in EU funding linked to Turkey’s membership talks to signal the bloc’s unhappiness over the crackdown in the wake of the failed July 2016 coup.


White House’s Kushner to finalize Palestinian economic plan on Middle East tour -official

Updated 39 min 31 sec ago
0

White House’s Kushner to finalize Palestinian economic plan on Middle East tour -official

  • White House senior adviser Kushner will visit Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE

WASHINGTON: White House senior adviser Jared Kushner will lead a US delegation on a tour of the Middle East to finalize details of his proposed $50 billion economic development plan for the Palestinians, Jordan, Egypt and Lebanon, an administration official said on Sunday.
Kushner, Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt, State Department official Brian Hook and Kushner aide Avi Berkowitz are expected to make make stops in Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, the official said.
They leave late this month and return to Washington in early August.
The official said the purpose of the trip is to “continue on the momentum that was created at the workshop in Bahrain and finalize the economic portion of the plan.”
They will also discuss the possibility of locating the development fund in Bahrain, the official said.
Kushner, US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and the plan’s main architect, sought to build support for his ambitious economic proposals for the Palestinian territories at an international meeting in Bahrain in June.
Palestinians poured scorn on the Trump administration’s $50 billion investment plan to help achieve Middle East peace, but US Gulf Arab allies said the economic initiative had promise if a political settlement is reached.
Kushner and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin last week discussed creation of the fund with World Bank President David Malpass, the official said. The World Bank has a role in managing the fund.
The delegation was not expected to discuss Trump’s long-awaited political plan for the Middle East, and when it will be released remains unclear.