By Askin Kiyagan
VIENNA (AA) – Turkey and Austria are seeking to "open a new page" in relations, according to local media reports Friday.
The news comes after Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu met Thursday with his Austrian counterpart Karin Kneissl in Istanbul, which received widespread media coverage in Austria.
Austria’s public broadcaster ORF and some other prominent media outlets described the meeting as “a new page in relations” which comes after two years of tensions between the two countries.
Bilateral ties between soured in 2016 due to restrictions imposed by Austrian authorities on Turkish politicians who wanted to campaign in the country ahead of a key referendum in Turkey. The campaigns were aimed at garnering support from Turkish nationals living in Austria.
Ankara had also sharply criticized Austria’s government for what it considered to be illiberal integration policies, its populistic rhetoric and its failure to take a strong stance against growing racism and Islamophobia.
- Thawing relations
The Austrian daily Der Standard said relations are thawing between Vienna and Ankara, citing Cavusoglu’s remarks.
“Due to developments and steps taken in Austria, we halted activities by [Austrian] archaeological companies in Ephesus. We want to restart [these activities],” he said, referring to the ancient Turkish city of Efes.
The two sides also agreed to normalize relations, hold more talks at the level of diplomats and officials, set up an economic commission and boost cultural ties.
Austria’s Kronen Zeitung daily headlined its news on the meeting as “Austrian archeologists may turn back to Ephesus”.
“Both sides are willing to revive relations,” Kneissl said during the meeting, according to Kronen.
Austrian news agency APA shared an interview it held with Sabine Ladstatter, director of the Austrian Archaeological Institute.
Ladstatter said she was impressed by the developments and was pleased that Austrian archeologists would work in Turkey again.