German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer is to hold talks with her Turkish counterpart, Hulusi Akar, in Ankara on Thursday.
The visit is Kramp-Karrenbauer’s first-ever to NATO partner Turkey. She is expected to address a number of conflicts.
What will the ministers talk about?
A German Defense Ministry spokeswoman said the two ministers would likely discuss tensions in the Mediterranean and the outcomes from this week’s NATO summit.
Germany has taken on the role of mediator in the dispute between Turkey and Greece over rights to natural resources in the eastern Mediterranean. The two sides have held diplomatic talks and Turkey has withdrawn its exploration ships from the contested waters, but Berlin believes the problem remains unresolved.
The meeting in Ankara is also expected to address Turkey’s future role in Afghanistan after the withdrawal of international troops. Turkey is currently securing the international airport in the Afghan capital, Kabul — an operation that is considered crucial in order for Western embassies to continue diplomatic operations there. The pullout of NATO troops from the country could be complete as early as mid-July.
Tensions between allies
NATO partners Germany and Turkey have not always seen eye to eye.
Last year, tensions rose between the two countries after Germany’s military, the Bundeswehr, conducted a search on a Turkish cargo ship. The raid was part of an EU operation to crack down on oil smuggling and stop illegal arms shipments from reaching conflict-ridden Libya.
Turkey said the move was illegal and accused Germany and the EU of unauthorized use of force. But the mission command said it had reason to believe the vessel could be violating the UN weapons embargo against Libya.
nm/rt (AFP, dpa)