Germany Will Continue To Support Turkey's Negotiations, German Foreign Minister

ANKARA - The German Foreign Minister said on Monday that his country would continue to support Turkey`s negotiation process with EU.

In an interview with True Magazine, Germany`s Foreign Minister Frank Walter Steinmeier replied to questions on Turkey`s EU membership process.

"The negotiations show that Turkey has made progress towards the EU, particularly in the field of economic and fiscal policy," Steinmeier said.

He also said that the passing of the foundations law was an important step forward for the non-Muslim majorities, as well as for religious freedom in Turkey.

Upon a question on the debate on a "privileged partnership" alternative for Turkey, Steinmeier said, "Germany stands by the decision made by the EU: the ultimate goal of the accession negotiations is accession."

"However these negotiations are an open-ended process, the outcome of which cannot be guaranteed beforehand. But, I want to make it clear that Germany will continue to actively and constructively support the negotiations," he added.

Commenting on the prospect of Turkey, a country with a majority Muslim population, the German minister said EU was not a "Christian Club".

"Overcoming prejudices and establishing new networks and cooperation projects is very important. The Alliance of Civilizations is a valuable contribution towards that," he said, commenting on the Alliance of Civilizations initiative established by Turkey and Spain.

Regarding the Cyprus issue, Steinmeier said, "the settlement of the Cyprus conflict is in the interests of everyone and for the sake of regional stability it must be a priority".

Steinmeier commented on the economic ties between Turkey and Germany as well.

"Thousands of Turkish fellow citizens have set up companies in Germany and created many jobs. Inversely, the largest number of foreign investors in Turkey come from Germany. More than 3,000 German companies are active in a wide variety of sectors," he said.

He also said that there would be great opportunities for a closer cooperation between Germany and Turkey in the energy sector.

(DO-AÖ)

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