Diplomatic Briefing

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Newsline: German, Turkish diplomats spar in Istanbul

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock on Friday urged Turkey to respect human rights during a testy visit at which she sparred openly with counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu. (https://www.digitaljournal.com/world/german-turkish-diplomats-spar-in-istanbul/article) The former German Green party co-leader also rejected Turkey’s territorial claims to Greek islands in the Aegean and urged Ankara not to stage a mooted military incursion into northern Syria. Baerbock was paying her first visit to Turkey after holding talks in Greece that came with old rivalries between the two NATO defence alliance neighbours rising once again. Turkey accuses Greece of illegally arming its web of islands — some of them visible from the Turkish shore. Greece counters that Turkey is staging provocative military sorties over the region and threatening to go to war. “We cannot solve the problems of the east Mediterranean by escalating tensions,” she added during a joint media appearance with Cavusoglu. Cavusoglu retorted: “Why are you closing your Greece’s unlawful actions.” Turkey and Germany developed a warm friendship in the era of former chancellor Angela Merkel. But Baerbock was more critical of Turkey as leader of the leftist Green party and raised a number of what she called “difficult” issues in Istanbul.

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