Dear Minister Kaljurand,
dear Minister Çavuşoğlu,
dear Secretary General Jagland,
dear colleagues, excellencies,
The German government welcomes today’s meeting here in Strasbourg. We very much appreciate that Minister Çavuşoğlu has taken the time to be here today.
I would like to thank Ms. Kaljurand for all the valuable efforts of the Estonian chairmanship.
I would also like to thank you, Secretary General Jagland, for your tireless efforts to strenghten cooperation between the Council of Europe and Turkey in the current situation.
The German government strongly condemned the attempted coup against the democratic system in Turkey on 15 July and expressed its condolences given the high number of casualties.
I myself visited Turkey at the end of August, where I had fruitful meetings with the Minister for Europe, Ömer Celik, representatives of the opposition parties and of the Turkish civil society in Ankara and Istanbul.
I was deeply moved by the visit of the building of the Turkish Parliament, which was heavily damaged by the perpetrators of the attempted coup. If you see this, you understand that the coup was directed right at the heart of Turkish democracy.
From what I saw and heard during my visit, I was deeply impressed by the courage of the Turkish people, who stood up against the attempted coup.
We believe that it is fully legitimate that the Turkish authorities undertake appropriate action in order to bring those to justice who were involved in plotting and executing the attempted coup.
At the same time, we believe and have repeatedly stated that all actions undertaken in this context must fully respect the legal guarantees enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights and the principles of rule of law and proportionality. To this end, providing full transparency of current measures is very important.
We therefore very much welcome assurances of the Turkish government, as Minister Çavuşoğlu has underlined again today, that Turkey will fully respect the fundamental rights of its citizens and fully comply with the obligations as member state of the Council of Europe.
We would like to encourage our Turkish partners to make full use of the cooperation with the Council of Europe, to actively seek its assistance in the ongoing process of coming to terms with the attempted coup. We acknowledge the meeting of the working group of experts the Council of Europe and the Turkish Ministry of Justice a few days ago in Strasbourg.
We also continue to see a role for the Venice Commission, for the Commissioner of Human Rights and for other monitoring bodies, and we encourage our Turkish partners to actively engage with them.
In conclusion, we believe that in the current situation in Turkey, the Council of Europe with its unique expertise and instruments in the field of protecting and fostering human rights, the rule of law and democracy has a very important role to play – in coordination with the OSCE and others. Close cooperation between Turkey and the Council of Europe will be for the benefit of Turkey and for all of us in Europe.