Germany wants a rapprochement between the EU and Turkey

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas sent signals of a new beginning with Turkey, German news agency DPA said on Monday.

"Now it's time to get out of last year’s difficult discussions," Maas said after meeting his Turkish counterpart Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu.

Mass was in Turkey to promote the talks designed to de-escalate political and military disputes with Greece over offshore territorial claims. Turkey and Greece are due to hold bilateral talks to resolve their differences over sea boundaries next week, though the two sides have yet to agree on the scope of the discussions.  

Maas also encouraged Turkey’s recent efforts to renew its commitment to the EU. "I would very much like to see relations between the EU and Turkey improve, be deepened, and use all possibilities and potentials."

Maas said he didn’t comment on human rights issues but had discussed such cases with Çavuşoğlu.

At a December summit, EU leaders agreed to impose sanctions on Turkish individuals involved in the gas drilling activities but stopped short of targeting the Turkish economy or government directly. Eu leaders delayed wider measures until March.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Turkey will remain committed to it’s EU membership process.

Meanwhile, Çavuşoğlu is scheduled on Wednesday to hold talks with top officials of the European Council and European Commission as well as the members of the European Parliament, the Turkish Foreign Ministry announced on Tuesday.

Speaking at the European Parliament, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said European Union will try to look for a better understanding ahead of the visit of Turkish foreign minister.