Germany has a “strategic interest” in a sound economic development in Turkey, Chancellor Angela Merkel said Thursday.

In an interview with German RTL television, Merkel said Germany and Turkey should enhance dialogue and cooperation, despite their differences on a number of political topics. 

"Germany has a strategic interest in a sound economic development in Turkey. If we behave in a way that would weaken Turkey, that would not be in our interest," she said. 

Erdogan's visit to Germany

Merkel also dismissed criticism by German opposition parties on Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s planned visit to Berlin on Sept. 28-29. 

"We cannot always think of the world in black and white terms. That is not the reality," she said.

Intensified talks between Berlin and Ankara are important to overcome current problems, she added.

Merkel underlined that German-Turkish relations were "special" thanks to more than 3 million people of Turkish origin living in Germany. 

Growing worries over Idlib 

Asked about growing worries over a large-scale military offensive by the Syrian regime in Idlib, Merkel stressed that "everything must be done to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe" in the city controlled by the opposition forces. 

Merkel said she had telephone calls with Turkish President Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss the situation. 

"[...] The civil population must be protected," she stressed. 

Located near the Turkish border, Idlib province is home to more than 3 million Syrians, many of whom fled from other cities following attacks by regime forces.

The Syrian regime has recently announced plans to launch a major military offensive to the area. 

The UN warned earlier this week that such an offensive would lead to the "worst humanitarian catastrophe in the 21st century".