Like any good host, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel takes pains to makes his guests comfortable. So before his Turkish counterpart Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu visited his hometown of Goslar last weekend, Gabriel made a last-minute purchase at a local shop — a Çaydanlık, a traditional Turkish teapot.
The gesture wasn’t lost on Çavuşoğlu as he sat sipping Turkish tea with Dostum Sigmar (my friend Sigmar) in Gabriel’s sunroom. Gabriel, the former Social Democratic Party leader who became Berlin’s foreign minister about a year ago, was equally enthusiastic about lieber Mevlüt (dear Mevlüt) during a made-for-TV visit that included a stroll through Goslar’s cobble-stoned old town and at least one manbrace.
The meeting might have drawn little notice were German-Turkish relations not at their lowest point in decades…Against that backdrop, the Goslar get-together was anything but routine. That it happened at all signals both sides are keen to defuse the tensions.