Before departing for Turkey, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas issued the following statement today (5 September):
It is in Germany’s strategic interest to shape our relations with Turkey in constructive fashion. Turkey is more than a large neighbour, it is also an important partner for Germany. However, in recent years, our traditionally good relations have been seriously put to the test on numerous occasions.
It is no secret that we are concerned about developments in Turkey, in particular about the human rights situation and that this overshadows our relations. Not least the many ongoing cases of imprisonment bear witness to this. I will address these issues frankly. Given the deep and close ties between our societies and the many different interests we share, it is our clear intention to continue to work hard to improve relations. With my trip to Turkey, I want to play my part.