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ISTANBUL (AP) — Germany’s foreign minister says Berlin wants to continue “to work hard” to improve relations with Turkey.

Heiko Maas spoke Wednesday before departing for a two-day visit to Turkey where he is scheduled to meet with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and other Turkish officials.

The visit comes as Turkey aims to repair ties with European allies. Last year, Erdogan accused Germany of “Nazi practices” after Turkish ministers were barred from holding election rallies in the country. Relations also soured over the detention in Turkey of German citizens for what Berlin considers to be political reasons.

Maas said: “It’s in Germany’s strategic interest to have constructive relations with Turkey.”

The minister is scheduled to attend a ceremony in Istanbul marking the start of a German high school’s new academic year.