A “smart” Brexit deal may serve as a model for relations with other non-EU states, according to Germany’s Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel.

On December 26, he proposed that the European Union’s upcoming Brexit deal with the UK could serve as a template for relations with other non-EU states, namely Turkey and Ukraine.

In an interview with Germany’s Funke media group, Gabriel said: “If we can reach a smart agreement with Great Britain that outlines its relations with Europe after Brexit, then that could serve as a model for other countries.”

As reported by Deutsche Welle (DW), Germany’s international broadcaster, Gabriel also suggested that such an approach by Brussels could lead to a “new, closer form of customs union” with Ankara.

Even though the situation in Turkey had demonstrated that the country was still some way away from accession to the EU, Gabriel said, recent gestures by Ankara showed a willingness to improve relations with Brussels. That willingness was shared by Berlin, he added.

“It is a good sign that several detained Germans have been released,” the Social Democratic lawmaker said. However, Berlin continued to maintain great concern over the well-being of Deniz Yücel, a Turkish-German correspondent for German daily Die Welt who has been held in an Istanbul prison without charge since February due to suspected links to terror groups. “The Turks know how important his fate is to us.”