Turkey, Russia rapprochement not seen affecting Turkey’s NATO role-Germany

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A supporter of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan waves a Turkish flag during a pro-government protest in Cologne, Germany July 31, 2016. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler

Germany does not believe that a thaw in relations between Turkey and Russia will affect Turkey’s role in the NATO alliance, the German Foreign Ministry said on Monday.

The spokeswoman welcomed moves by the two countries to end tensions after Turkey downed a Russian fighter jet near the Syrian border last November, and said better communication was important given their respective roles in ending the civil war in Syria.

“We do not believe that the rapprochement between Turkey and Russia will have consequences for the security partnership within NATO,” spokeswoman Sawsan Chebli told a regular government news conference. “Turkey is and remains an important partner within NATO.”

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan is due to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin in St Petersburg on Tuesday for talks on the Syria conflict, trade, energy and the resumption of Russian charter flights to Turkey. [nL8N1AM50L]

The meeting comes amid growing strains in Ankara’s ties with the West after a failed military coup in Turkey in which 230 people were killed. Turkey accuses the West of showing more concern over a post-coup crackdown than over the putsch itself.

Markus Ederer, state secretary in the German foreign ministry, told reporters that he told Turkish officials during a visit on Monday that Germany took the attempted coup seriously.

But he said he also insisted that Ankara should carry out post-coup investigations in line with European values and the principles of rule of law.

Chebli and a spokeswoman for the German government repeated that reinstatement of the death penalty in Turkey would end its bid to join the European Union.

Related:  Turkey regains control after deadly anti-Erdogan coup bid

“It’s clear that there is no place in the European Union for a country that has the death penalty,” German government spokeswoman Ulrike Demmer told reporters.

(This version of the story has been refiled to repeat to fix story link)

(Reporting by Michelle Martin, Andrea Shalal and Sabine Siebold in Berlin, and Ayla Jean Yackley in Ankara; Editing by Caroline Copley)

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