With the beginning of their Strategic Dialogue on May 12 in Berlin, Germany and Turkey open a new chapter in their relations. Foreign Ministers Guido Westerwelle and Ahmet Davutoğlu together published the following article.
Turkish newspapers are on sale in Berlin kiosks every morning. Finding a German magazine hot off around five million German tourists visit Turkey annually and more than ten thousand Germans reside in Turkey: altogether this adds up to a strong human bond that gives a unique dimension to the relations between our countries.
More than 50 years after the beginning of Turkish migration to Germany, we can conclude that the presence of the Turkish community in Germany has been largely harmonious and peaceful. Today, life in Germany is enriched by artists, athletes and entrepreneurs of Turkish origin. They have become one of the defining features of a pluralistic and prosperous Germany.
Turkey and Germany, we both attach great value in promoting diversity in our countries. The level of mutual respect and understanding built upon years of co-existence in Germany must not be allowed to be compromised by fringe movements. Intolerance and xenophobia are not acceptable, nowhere.
Complementing the human dimension, our bilateral trade has been developing fast surpassing all previous figures. Turkish and German economies are among the very few which have shown resilience and dynamism in weathering the global economic crisis.
In sum, the lives of Germans and Turks have never been more interconnected. Our decades’ long alliance and partnership provide a solid base in building a common vision for the future. Our shared values and objectives stand tall in this era of multiple transformations.
The constructive partnership between Turkey and Germany gained added significance in view of the major developments in the north and the south of the Mediterranean, the historic importance of which cannot be overstated. Both our countries are committed to playing an active and responsible role in these processes.
With its functioning pluralistic democracy and strong economic performance, Turkey represents a source of inspiration for the countries in transition in the Middle East and North Africa. Similarly, Germany proves to be an anchor of stability in Europe, undertaking significant efforts and assuming responsibility in order to overcome the severe impact of the current economic and debt crisis.
With this in mind, we are today launching a German-Turkish strategic dialogue, which will cover the whole range of our bilateral, European and broader international affairs, raising our relations to a new level. We intend to keep developing this framework jointly in the future.
We are particularly committed to encouraging friendship, understanding and exchanges between our countries’ younger generation. That is why we are today laying the groundwork for closer contacts between them. This is an investment in our shared future.
The European dimension of our relations also provides a fundamental framework. Thus we share the goal of breathing new life into the process of bringing the European Union and Turkey closer together. It is good that a new negotiation chapter is going to be opened soon. After all, stagnation in the accession talks is harmful for Turkey and Europe.
We therefore want to create a new dynamism in the Turkish accession process. EU and Turkey need to move the accession process forward. Turkey has launched a far-reaching reform process and is pursuing it with determination. These reforms serve our common fundamental values of democracy, human rights and the rule of law. A lot of progress has been made in this process. Successful reform in Ankara, however, should be reflected positively in the negotiation process aiming at Turkey’s EU accession.
On the basis of these considerations, we are jointly developing a German-Turkish partnership for Europe. Through this initiative, we are hoping to bring a positive impact on the public debate both in Europe and Turkey regarding Turkey’s EU vocation.
Together, we want to advance on visa dialogue between EU and Turkey with a view to secure visa liberalization for Turkish citizens that will help build a better understanding among our peoples. Enhanced mobility will help remove many of the obstacles that prevent the EU and Turkey from drawing closer. In this context, we will continue our cooperation to address the issue of irregular migration.
Finally, we are committed to exploring the prospects of further developing a strategic Turkey-EU dialogue on broader international issues. In fact, there is a need for Turkey and the EU to closely coordinate their diplomatic efforts on almost every issue, but certainly so in jointly supporting the historic transformation in the Arab world.
As Allies in NATO, Germany and Turkey stand side by side in these challenging times. This holds especially true with a view to the dramatic situation in Syria. The deployment within NATO context of Patriot systems in Turkey by Germany alongside the Netherlands and the United States to augment Turkey’s air defense is a demonstration of that solidarity.
In sum, Germany and Turkey are strong partners in support of peace, freedom and prosperity. Our relationship is special in all its aspects, bilateral, European and international. We shall carry it into the future with resolve and enthusiasm.