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The Ernst Reuter Initiative for Intercultural Dialogue and Understanding

04.10.2016 - Article

In September 2006 Federal Minister Steinmeier and Abdullah Gül, Turkey's foreign minister at the time, launched the Ernst Reuter Initiative (ERI) at a ceremony in Istanbul. Working with partners from the world of business, the media, art and culture, education and research, the Initiative aims to expand German-Turkish cooperation and intensify intercultural dialogue between the two countries.

The Ernst Reuter Initiative (ERI) boosts German-Turkish cooperation in the fields of art, culture, politics and the media, business, education and research. It was launched by the German and Turkish Foreign Ministers in September 2006 to issue a joint signal.

In his speech at the launch of the Ernst Reuter Initiative on 7 September 2006, Foreign Minister Steinmeier said that they had “decided to launch a joint venture that will manifest in a very practical way the importance of our two nations working together to foster mutual understanding. That demonstrates how much has already been achieved in this direction. And that calls upon people in all sections of society to contribute to this joint venture.”

The Ernst Reuter Initiative aims to publicise and enlist support for ideas, projects and programmes designed to systematically promote intercultural dialogue and to highlight the value of such dialogue.


Remembering shared history

Ernst Reuter
Ernst Reuter© Berlin Regional Archives

The Initiative is named after Ernst Reuter, a Social Democrat who sought refuge in Turkey from the Nazis. He worked as adviser to the Turkish Ministry of Economics before returning to Berlin after the War, where in 1948 he was elected Mayor (from 1950: Governing Mayor).

Many people who fled their Nazi persecutors and found refuge in Turkey in the 1930s and 1940s have retained a close bond to this day with the land that gave them shelter. Hence it is also one of the Initiative’s goals to remember this historic bond between the two countries and to strengthen and enhance mutual trust and cooperation in the future, too.

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