State Secretary Ederer travelled to Turkey for a two‑day visit on Sunday. This was the first high‑ranking visit from Germany since the attempted coup of 15 to 16 July. Ederer made it clear that Germany had been quick to oppose and strongly condemn the attempted coup.
Markus Ederer’s visit sought to re‑establish direct channels of communication with Turkey and to express Germany’s support for democracy in Turkey. His itinerary included a visit to the Turkish Parliament, where the State Secretary was able to assess the damage caused during an attack on the building by the putschists. Prior to this, Ederer had visited Turkish Ambassador to Germany Hüseyin Avni Karslioglu in hospital, who had been wounded during the attempted coup. His visit also included meetings with his Turkish counterparts State Secretary Feridun Sinirlioglu and State Secretary Selami Altinok.
Attempted coup condemned by the Federal Government
“The Federal Government was quick in its clear opposition to the coup,” said Ederer at a press conference in Ankara. He said that all of the parties had turned against the putschists and that the people had defended the country’s institutions and democracy against tanks with “their bare hands”.
Responding to the attempted coup – but while respecting the principle of proportionality
Immediately after the attempted overthrow of the Government in mid‑July, a wave of arrests and suspensions, which was targeted at alleged supporters of the coup in the political arena and state institutions, began as part of the investigations into its circumstances. State Secretary Ederer had the following to say about this: “We are supporting the Turkish state’s legitimate efforts to respond to these events with political and penal measures and to bring those responsible to justice.” In talks with partners in Ankara, State Secretary Ederer said that he expected rule‑of‑law principles to be adhered to in the course of investigations into the events. Foreign Minister Steinmeier had already expressed a similar view.
Steinmeier: direct dialogue even more important
At the meeting of the German-speaking Foreign Ministers in Liechtenstein, Foreign Minister Steinmeier said last Friday that the question as to “how we shape relations with Turkey in this difficult situation and what we can do to help those who have been arrested” was decisive. He added that it was now even more important to seek to engage in “direct dialogue with each other” and that microphones and megaphones should not be the sole means of communication. Steinmeier also welcomed the visit by Thorbjørn Jagland, the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, who was the first politician from Europe to travel to Turkey following the attempted coup.
Reintroduction of the death penalty would be a step backwards
With respect to the debate surrounding the possible reintroduction of the death penalty in Turkey, Foreign Minister Steinmeier has reiterated in recent weeks that this would be “a huge step backwards”. He said that capital punishment was not compatible with European values and fundamental rights.