Turkey's Defence Minister Hulusi Akar thanks his German counterpart for her hospitality and says they had very frank and constructive discussions on a number of important topics.

Turkey's Defence Minister Hulusi Akar and his German counterpart Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer met in the German capital of Berlin to discuss the international security issues, and the recent developments in the Eastern Mediterranean on February 2, 2021.
Turkey's Defence Minister Hulusi Akar and his German counterpart Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer met in the German capital of Berlin to discuss the international security issues, and the recent developments in the Eastern Mediterranean on February 2, 2021. (AA)

Turkey is an important NATO ally, the German defence minister has said, following a meeting with her Turkish counterpart Hulusi Akar in the capital Berlin.

Akar and his delegation were greeted with military honours by Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer at the headquarters of the German Ministry of Defence on Tuesday, where the two ministers discussed various aspects of bilateral defence cooperation, international security issues, and the recent developments in the Eastern Mediterranean. 

“Turkey is, and will remain, an important NATO ally,” Kramp-Karrenbauer said after the talks, adding that today’s meeting can be interpreted as “a special, and a good signal” for the allies. 

She underlined that Turkey has always been a reliable and close partner, and made significant contributions to Europe’s security. 

“Both countries have a shared interest in maintaining stability in the southeastern flank of the NATO,” she stressed. 

Akar, for his part, thanked his German counterpart for her hospitality and said they had very frank and constructive discussions on a number of important topics.

“We have had the opportunity to discuss a wide range of issues, both bilateral topics, and security and defence matters within the framework of NATO and the EU,” he said.

READ MORE: Turkish, German leaders discuss EU, eastern Mediterranean

Turkey, Germany to take ‘concrete steps’ in defense, security

Turkey and Germany will take concrete steps in defense and security fields in the coming days, Akar said on Wednesday.

Akar’s remarks came a day after his meeting with German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer in Berlin.

Noting that the meeting with Kramp-Karrenbauer was “very constructive,” he said: “We have observed with great pleasure that we share similar opinions on many issues. I assess that some concrete steps will be taken especially in the fields of defense and security in the coming days as a result of this meeting.”

Akar added that Germany is among Turkey’s most important allies and partners in Europe’s security and politics, NATO, Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), Council of Europe, and economic institutions.

“We expect that our works will lead to positive results soon. Taking into consideration the meetings between our president and Chancellor [Angela] Merkel, I assume that it will be possible to carry out more constructive, positive, and productive work,” he continued.

He went on to say that Turkey has fulfilled all of its responsibilities to date and will continue to do so.

“It is known to everyone that Turkey is one of the outstanding members of NATO in terms of unity, operations, drills, and financial support. Accordingly, our relations with NATO are very constructive and well-realized,” he said.

Akar also stated that negotiations with Greece on the Eastern Mediterranean and the Aegean are expected to be more productive in the coming days.

He said that a total of eight meetings has been held with Greece to date and that Turkey expects Greece to be more “involved” in the upcoming meetings.

“We hope to come up with peaceful solutions to the problems between Greece and Turkey through these negotiations. We want everyone to know that we are ready to make necessary contributions to resolve the issues,” Akar said.

Turkey-Greece dialogue 

Akar’s visit came after the resumption of direct talks between Turkey and Greece on January 25, following Germany’s diplomatic efforts to de-escalate tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean. 

Kramp-Karrenbauer has welcomed the recent talks between Ankara and Athens, and expressed hope that this process would help finding diplomatic solutions to the long-standing problems between the two NATO allies. 

“I hope that all sides would use this opportunity for dialogue, I see Germany here in a mediating role,” she said.

The German government has taken several initiatives in recent months to reduce tensions between Turkey and Greece, and facilitated the resumption of direct talks after a four-year hiatus. 

READ MORE: Turkey, Greece agree to continue direct talks to normalise ties

Tensions in Eastern Mediterranean 

Turkey and Greece have long been at odds over the maritime boundaries in the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean.

Ankara has rejected maritime boundary claims of EU members Greece and the Greek Cypriot Administration, and stressed that these excessive claims violate the sovereign rights of both Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots.

Last year, the Turkish government had sent several drill ships in the Eastern Mediterranean to explore for energy resources, asserting Turkey’s rights in the region as well as those of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

Turkish leaders have repeatedly said the problems in the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean should be resolved through peaceful means and dialogue, but also underlined that Turkey has the will and determination to protect its rights and interests arising from international law and agreements.

READ MORE: Turkey's door to diplomacy and negotiations is open

Source: AA