Minister of State Böhmer met with Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the leader of the Republic People’s Party (CHP), the main Turkish opposition party, in Berlin for political talks. Böhmer and Kılıçdaroğlu agreed on the special importance of German-Turkish relations.
“Close ties between Turks and Germans”
Almost three million people of Turkish descent live in Germany; many of them have German nationality. “The long-standing and close ties between Turks and Germans are,” according to Böhmer, “unique”. She described them as a bridge between the two countries, which we needed to strengthen and further develop given the current political situation in Turkey.
Kılıçdaroğlu and Böhmer spoke at length about the implementation of the EU-Turkey statement, the negotiations and the progress made towards meeting the criteria, and how this relates to visa liberalisation and refugees and migration. Böhmer stressed that Turkey’s readiness to take in Syrian refugees was exemplary. She thanked Kılıçdaroğlu for the Turkish people’s tremendous support for those fleeing war and violence. She noted that the key role played by Turkish civil society in taking in refugees was often not fully appreciated in Europe.
Freedom of opinion has to apply unconditionally
In view of the limits imposed on media freedom and freedom of opinion, and the arrest of top journalists critical of the government, Böhmer made it clear that the German Government was watching developments in Turkey carefully and with concern. She stated that the rule of law, freedom of opinion and media freedom had to apply unconditionally to all people in Turkey.
As regards the joint battle being waged against IS, Böhmer called on everybody to stand united, irrespective of nationality and religion, since the terrorist actions of the group were directed against us all.