Minister of State Prof. Maria Böhmer is visiting Ankara on 3 and 4 November for political talks. She is accompanied by the chair of the German-Turkish Parliamentary Friendship Group, Michelle Müntefering (SPD), and the rapporteur on Turkey of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group, Dr Andreas Nick.
Originally, a meeting with Figen Yüksekdag, co‑chair of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), was planned for 4 November. During the early hours of 4 November, Ms Yüksekdag was taken into police custody along with nearly a dozen HDP members of parliament, including co‑chair Selahattin Demirtas.
In her talks with Minister of Youth and Sports Akif Cagatay Kilic, and with Deputy Foreign Minister Ahmet Yildiz, Minister of State Böhmer expressed in all clarity the Federal Government’s concern about the increased tension in the domestic political climate.
At the end of her visit, Minister of State Böhmer met and exchanged views with representatives of civil society, the media and the academic community. On 3 November, she had already met with representatives of German companies that are operating in Turkey.
To me, it was important to immediately and candidly state the position of the Federal Government on this topic. Protecting the rights of members of parliament is a key element of a functioning democracy.
In view of the almost daily new action that is being taken against the media, civil society, academics and opposition politicians, as well as the debate regarding the death penalty, I am most deeply concerned about the stability and future of democracy and the rule of law in Turkey. By visiting Cumhuriyet and by holding talks with HDP members of parliament, I wanted to clearly and publicly demonstrate that, in this very difficult situation in Ankara, the Federal Government supports freedom of the press and freedom of opinion, as well as the rule of law.
Minister of State Böhmer also expressed her grief over the deadly terrorist attack in Diyarbakir on the morning of 4 November, and she offered her heartfelt sympathy to the victims. She went on to state that the Turkish Government can count on Germany’s support in the fight against terrorism.
The frequent terrorist attacks that are carried out by various groups in Turkey are an almost unimaginable burden on the country. Nevertheless, difficult questions are being raised by the increasing number of attacks that target politicians, journalists, academics and other civil society representatives. I call on all political forces to do everything in their power to convince the PKK to abandon violence and terror. In my talks with representatives of the Turkish Government, I made clear that the Federal Government expects that a political solution to the Kurdish conflict will be sought.