ANTALYA, Turkey

Germans and Russians want to come back to visit Turkey, in part thanks to its skillful handling of the coronavirus pandemic, now on the wane, Turkey’s foreign minister said Saturday.

Appearing on television in Antalya, Turkey’s popular Mediterranean resort, Mevlut Cavusoglu said the country is working towards restarting tourism.

“Our German and Russian friends want to visit our country. Compared to other countries in terms of the pandemic, Turkey stands out in its case numbers. Tourists want to come for that reason,” he said.

“We need to work hard to bring them here, people should be able to come to Turkey for holidays again.”

Adding that the country is looking to restart international flights, Cavusoglu said: “We had meetings with Germany, France, and the UK about tourism. I spoke to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov twice. We know that Russian tourists want to come to our country.”

After tourism worldwide ground to a halt due to the coronavirus pandemic, Turkey’s new case numbers are falling, and it is looking to bring back tourists by restarting flights and issuing certificates for businesses that have taken necessary steps against the outbreak.

Stressing that Turkey is also working hard to improve its agriculture sector, Cavusoglu said: “We had no problems in terms of food security, we continued our exports.”

About migrants near Greece’s border, Cavusoglu said: “Due to the pandemic, the movement of the migrants has slowed down. But they will want to go after the outbreak is over, and I’m not saying this as a threat.”

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