Prior to the digital launch of the first German-Turkish City Partnership Conference, a Federal Foreign Office Spokesperson issued the following statement today (17 June):
We are delighted that 20 mayors from Germany and Turkey are for the first time coming together on 18 June for a virtual roundtable as part of the first German-Turkish City Partnership Conference with the aim of strengthening cooperation at municipal level between our two countries. The participants will include the Governing Mayor of Berlin, Michael Müller, and the Mayor of Istanbul, Ekrem Imamoğlu. The Mayor of Hanover, Belit Onay, and the President of the Association of Turkish Municipalities and Mayor of Gaziantep, Fatma Şahin, are to lead the discussion. Michelle Müntefering, Minister of State at the Federal Foreign Office, and Yavuz Selim Kıran, Deputy Foreign Minister of Turkey, will open the meeting with a video message.
There are currently more than 80 official city partnerships in place between German and Turkish cities, in addition to numerous friendships and contacts between municipalities. They illustrate the breadth and depth of German-Turkish relations and the wide range of contacts between the people of our two countries which transcend day-to-day politics.
From 3 to 16 June, experts and representatives of municipal administrations, city partnership associations and youth organisations took part in online workshops to share examples of best practice from German-Turkish city partnerships in the fields of digitalisation, sustainable urban development, protecting marginalised groups and refugees, and youth exchange. The results of the workshops are to be discussed and collated on 18 June at a digital information session.
The City Partnership Conference was originally to be held as a conventional conference in Istanbul from 16 to 18 June. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this meeting had to be postponed. The German-Turkish City Partnership Conference is organised by the German missions in Turkey in cooperation with the Association of German Cities, the Union of Municipalities of Turkey, Engagement Global with its Service Agency Communities in One World, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, the German-Turkish Youth Bridge and the German-Turkish Chamber of Industry and Commerce. The event is supported by the Federal Foreign Office, the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and the Stiftung Mercator.