A packed agenda – Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and his Turkish counterpart Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu meet in Berlin
Foreign Minister Maas with his Turkish counterpart Çavuşoğlu, © Janine Schmitz/photothek.net
For the first time in months, the two foreign ministers met again in person today. There was plenty to discuss – the impact of the COVID‑19 pandemic, relations between Turkey and the EU, and the situation in Syria and Libya.
Foreign Minister Maas met his Turkish counterpart Çavuşoğlu today for talks at the Federal Foreign Office in Berlin. Germany assumed the Presidency of the Council of the European Union yesterday. The fact that the two Foreign Ministers met in person on the second day of the German Presidency shows that Turkey is an important partner for Germany and the EU as a whole.
Foreign Minister Maas commented as follows:
In the coming months, Germany will champion pragmatic cooperation and a good, constructive dialogue between the European Union and Turkey.
Working together to tackle COVID‑19
The two ministers spoke in depth about the COVID‑19 pandemic and its impact, which will also be a key topic of Germany’s Council Presidency. With regard to the travel warning that applies to trips to Turkey until 31 August, Foreign Minister Maas said:
We know that this topic means a great deal to many people in Turkey and here in Germany and that many people want the restrictions to be lifted. Coordination with the European Union is of enormous importance to Germany, as we will only be able to keep the virus properly under control if we act in concert in Europe as much as possible.
Regional crisis zones in Syria and Libya
Maas and Çavuşoğlu also discussed Libya and Syria. In the case of both conflicts, progress can only be made if the international community joins forces. In view of the catastrophic humanitarian situation in Syria, particularly in the northern part of the country, Germany pledged a further €1.58 billion in humanitarian aid this week. Germany is also lobbying in the UN Security Council for the UN’s cross-border resolution to be renewed so that humanitarian aid from Turkey and Iraq can continue to reach the affected areas.
In Libya, progress is urgently needed on talks on a permanent ceasefire and on the implementation of the UN arms embargo, which is still being broken by supporters of both sides. Here, too, the international community must exert its influence on the parties to the conflict.