Federal Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier today (16 February) met with representatives of the Turkish community in Germany at the start of a series of events on "German-Turkish Perspectives".
As well as discussing current economic and European policy issues in the context of German-Turkish relations, Federal Minister Steinmeier seized the opportunity to talk about the Federal Foreign Office's cultural policy activities in Turkey, in particular the Ernst Reuter Initiative that he launched together with President Abdullah Gül, the planned German-Turkish University in Istanbul and the establishment of the Tarabya Cultural Academy in Istanbul. Federal Minister Steinmeier made the following statement at today's meeting (16 February):
"Practical cooperation between the cultures is the best way of overcoming prejudices and eradicating misconceptions. This thought was behind the Ernst Reuter Initiative that Abdullah Gül and I launched in the summer of 2006 following the cartoons controversy. And it has been behind various other cultural projects, such as the planned establishment of the German-Turkish University and the Tarabya Cultural Academy.
The idea of setting up a cultural academy in the former Summer Residence of the German Ambassador in Tarabya was proposed by members of the German Bundestag, and I was glad to follow it up. We have since won the support of the Goethe-Institut as a responsible agency to implement the project and a concept for the use of the building has been drawn up in cooperation with the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media. This will be forwarded to the German Bundestag in the next few days. I am thus optimistic that the necessary funds will soon be made available by the Bundestag."