Germany wants ‘least possible tension’ in Greece-Turkey relations, spokesman says

Germany wants minimal or no friction between Greece and Turkey if possible, German government spokesman Steffen Seibert said on Wednesday.

“As a matter of principle we are interested, firstly as partners in NATO and secondly as Europeans, in having the least possible or even better no tension between Greece and Turkey. In the past there has repeatedly been direct contact between the governments of the two countries and this was often an opportunity to de-escalate tensions,” he said.

Seibert made the statement in reply to a question from the Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA), on whether the German government was concerned about an escalation of tensions in relations between Greece and Turkey, two important partners in NATO.

While Seibert said he was unaware of the case of the two Greek soldiers being held in Turkey on charges of trespassing on a Turkish military zone near the Greek-Turkish border, the German foreign ministry’s spokesperson Maria Adebahr said it was a “general principle of the German government that problems between two states are best solved through dialogue”.

“This general principle also applies in this case,” she added, while declining to comment on whether the issue had been discussed during a meeting held between German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel and his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu on Tuesday on the grounds that the meeting was confidential.