Turkey, Germany pledge to expand trade ties

Germany's Economy Minister Peter Altmaier poses in front of the mausoleum of modern Turkey's founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk in Ankara, Turkey, during a visit, Thursday, Oct. 25, 2018. Altmaier is visiting Turkey accompanied by a 30-person business delegation with the goal of intensifying ties between the two countries. (AP Photo/Ali Unal)

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — The economy ministers of Turkey and Germany vowed to expand trade ties Thursday as the two nations work to mend severely strained relations.

German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier is paying a two-day visit to Turkey with a 30-person business delegation. Germany is a top trading partner for Turkey.

“In the past years, the two countries suffered difficulties in relations, but we are determined to develop bilateral ties,” Altmaier said at a joint news conference with his Turkish counterpart.

Turkish Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak said Turkey wanted to strengthen cooperation with Germany by capitalizing on a “recent positive atmosphere” for their relations.

Turkey has clashed with its NATO allies over numerous issues in recent years, including Turkey’s jailing of German journalists. Last year, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused German officials of acting like Nazis after Turkish politicians were barred from holding election campaign rallies in Germany.

Altmaier’s visit also comes months after Turkey faced financial turmoil with a decline in the value of the Turkish currency. 

“Germany has an interest in a stable and dynamic economic relationship with Turkey,” Altmaier said ahead of the trip.

Altmaier and Turkish Trade Minister Ruhsar Peskan were scheduled to convene for the first time a joint commission seeking ways to improve trade, industry, tourism and infrastructure projects between the two countries.

Altmaier on Friday is scheduled to open the second session of the German-Turkish Energy Forum with Turkish Energy Minister Fatih Donmez.

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