Germany’s Gabriel looking to normalize Ankara ties on Turkey trip

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel attends the German Protestant church congress Kirchentag in Berlin

ST PETERSBURG, Russia (Reuters) – German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said on Saturday he wants to use to a trip to Turkey on Monday to try to “normalize” relations with Ankara after a series of rows with the NATO partner.

Germany is considering moving its soldiers from Incirlik air force base in Turkey to Jordan or another country in the region because the Turkish government refuses to grant German lawmakers access to the site.

Relations have been jolted by the arrest in Turkey of a German-Turkish journalist, and by bans earlier this year on planned rallies by Turkish ministers in Germany to drum up support for Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan ahead of a referendum on boosting his powers.

“We are looking for possibilities to take the first steps towards a normalization,” Gabriel told reporters in St Petersburg.

(Reporting by Reuters TV; Writing by Paul Carrel; editing by Ralph Boulton)