Shortly after taking office, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, Foreign Minister of Turkey, travelled to Berlin for an exchange of views with the Federal Foreign Minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier. They discussed, among other things, the Iraq crisis and the EU accession negotiations with Turkey.
“Hoş Geldiniz” – Welcome to Berlin. With these words, Frank-Walter Steinmeier welcomed his new Turkish counterpart. It was the Turkish Foreign Minister’s first bilateral visit in Europe. Relations between Germany and Turkey were so multifaceted, Steinmeier said, that talks like the present one were “invaluable”.
Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu for his part also praised the close relations between the two countries. He said that today’s dialogue had been another positive contribution to these relations.
Steinmeier stressed that any dialogue with Turkey also had to include difficult subjects such as the EU accession talks. “Today I made it clear once again that we are emphatically promoting the opening of further chapters,” Steinmeier said. He stated that Germany was also advocating this position to other EU member states which might be somewhat more reluctant.
Talks centred on the Iraq crisis
The talks also centred on the Iraq crisis and the ISIS threat. The Islamist terrorist group not only threatened the safety and security of Iraq and Syria but that of the entire region. Turkey had been the first to bear the fall-out, Steinmeier said. He expressed his sympathy for the fate of the Turkish consular staff in Mossul being held by ISIS.
Steinmeier also praised Turkey’s efforts in combatting the terrorist militia and the influx of fighters into the conflict regions.
Later today (18 September), both Foreign Ministers will leave for the special session of the UN Security Council on Friday (19 September) to discuss common efforts against ISIS. The close spacing of the meetings underscored the magnitude of concern over ISIS, not only in Germany but almost everywhere in the world, Steinmeier said.
Both Foreign Ministers agreed that to defuse the situation in Iraq, military options could not be the only focus of the talks but that a broader political approach was needed. Steinmeier emphasised that by sheltering large numbers of refugees, Turkey shouldered a big part of the burden of the conflicts in the Middle East. In this context, an international conference in Berlin, scheduled for 28 October, would focus on the troublespots’ neighbouring regions.
Increased funds for the fight against Ebola
Foreign Minister Steinmeier also addressed another urgent topic: the Ebola virus was spreading even further in West Africa. “Unfortunately we must expect a continuing rise in the number of people infected. There is no end to the emergency in sight,” Steinmeier said.
For this reason, he went on, he had today decided to increase Federal Foreign Office aid for the countries affected by the Ebola virus by another five million euros. Tomorrow the State Secretaries of the various Federal Ministries with an interest in the matter would be meeting at the Federal Foreign Office to coordinate all the Federal Government’s next moves in the fight against Ebola, Foreign Minister Steinmeier said.